The Pittsburgh Steelers officially announced Keith Butler as their next defensive coordinator yesterday. Butler, the long-time linebackers’ coach, replaces Dick LeBeau who resigned last week.
The million dollar question surrounding the potential promotion for Butler has been “How will he be different than LeBeau?”
It’s obviously a fair question and yesterday we started to get some answers as he sat down with reporters following the announcement. First and foremost it sounds like he’ll do just about anything to be successful. When asked if he was a “3-4 guy” his was response was… “I would consider myself a whatever-it-takes-to-win guy.”
He went on to add, “If it’s a 3-4, that’s fine, if that fits your players. I think you have to be able to fit your defense around the players you have. With what offenses are doing nowadays in the National Football League, they’re playing a lot of three wide receivers and a tight end and a running back, for the most part. In those situations, we’re going to be in kind of a 4-3 anyway, but we’re still going to be able to run the 3-4 also. It gives you a little bit more versatility, I think.”
For the majority of fans, that should be music to their ears. With the Steelers playing the nickel or dime defense roughly 55% of the time the last few years, the need for versatility has never been greater.
Butler would go on to use the term “versatile” or a variation of it several times during his interview.
One area that I disagree a bit with Butler on is scheme. He was asked whether it was players or the scheme that makes things go and he responded by saying, “It’s always the players. It always is the players. I’ve never seen a good coach without good players. In that case, you need to be able to teach guys to do what you expect them to do, and they have to have a clear understanding so they don’t have to think about it too much. They can react a little more quickly, so we can appear to be faster on the field. ”
While I understand much of what he is saying I would add that a good coach gets his players into the right situations as well and I’m not sure LeBeau did this on a consistent level the last few years.
Regardless, Butler will be very “LeBeau-like” at times but I think Butler’s approach bodes well for a fan base looking for some real change from what it has seen the last few years. Especially in terms of pressure, coverage and overall looks it gives the offense.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game
photo courtesy si.com
quotes courtesy steelers.com