Ironically, today was the day I gave my formal 2014 Season Grade for Dick LeBeau and now he goes up “one-ups” me by resigning as the team’s defensive coordinator.
LeBeau was quoted in the Urbana Daily Citizen in Ohio today. “I’m resigning this position, not retiring,” LeBeau told the newspaper. “I had a great run in Pittsburgh. I’m grateful for all the things that have happened to me and thankful for all the support I had in Pittsburgh.”
ESPN.com is reporting that LeBeau is “OK” with leaving Pittsburgh and is “ready for what comes next” but he wanted to return in 2015.
If this is true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, then LeBeau was given the opportunity to resign or he was going to be told he wasn’t coming back. This has been the usual custom following each season since he returned to coach the defense in 2004. He was typically allowed to decide his own fate.
I have longed believed that coaches can spend too much time in the same place. I realize that isn’t a view shared by everyone but I feel it was the case with LeBeau. Take talent away from the equation and I believe he was still becoming predictable and his opponents were finding the recipes to beat him more often than ever.
If you consider the talent, yes it matters greatly especially when you look at the last few years, but I still believe this is the right move. The defense has struggled to create turnovers and has struggled in creating a consistent pass rush in recent years.
I have to believe this will also have an affect on the futures of Troy Polamalu, Ike Tayor, Brett Keisel and James Harrison as well. Keisel I fully believe was done either way but I can see the other three being done too.
Let me be clear; I don’t “dislike” Dick LeBeau. I have tremendous respect for him as a former player, a coach and as a man. That doesn’t mean those things warrant staying on another year.
Popular opinion is that Mike Tomlin will not want to stray too far from the 3-4 scheme even though he’s a Tampa Two guy. That means linebackers’ coach Keith Butler is the likely replacement.
There are many who will be disappointed by this decision and that’s normal but change happens and there will be some growing pains with whomever replaces him but I still feel this is the correct decision.
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