Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is meeting with linebackers’ coach Keith Butler today to no doubt discuss the opening at the team’s defensive coordinator position.
Should Tomlin and the Steelers decide that Butler is the man, then the 3-4 defensive scheme stays put albeit with some changes in philosophy I would assume.
But… Many are speculating whether Mike Tomlin has finally decided to go back to his roots and install the 4-3 Tampa Two defense which he helped run in Tampa Bay and in Minnesota.
There are a couple of ways of looking at this and they all start with the simple question of “Does the team have the personnel to do it?” I believe it has some pieces but not all but let’s assume the option of the 4-3 is valid.
Here are my thoughts on why the time is right and why it isn’t for the switch.
It’s the right time to shift to the 4-3 because…
The offense is clearly the plow horse of this team right now. After finishing with the second best offense and second best passing game in the National Football League, the offense could cover up for a lot of the growing pains a new defense would suffer from.
If Todd Haley and the offense can improve their ‘touchdowns in the red zone’ numbers then that will be even more reason to go ahead with the switch. That is assuming an awful lot but with the entire offense back we should expect more TDs right?
It’s the wrong time to switch to the 4-3 because…
If you’re the general manager, head coach or offensive coordinator, do you really want to have your all-pro QB signed long-term in his prime and then give him arguably an even worse defense than he’s had recently?
Switching your entire system typically takes a couple of years to get everyone up to speed with the ins and outs and little intricacies of the new defense. I’m not saying success can’t happen immediately but we need to understand that it’s rare.
The decision to part ways with Dick LeBeau has been divisive among Steelers Fans but change was needed for many reasons. Now the question is just how much change does Mike Tomlin and company want?
If it’s me, you stay with the 3-4 or at the very least, you move to more of a hybrid style defense.
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
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