Every fan base has its optimistic groups and pessimistic groups. Every fan base has a group that believes the team should go in one direction and those that believe the team should go in another.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan base has groups like this but it also has a group that that couldn’t be more divided; those who believe offense is the answer and those who believe defense is the only way back to greatness.
This debate is not for the faint of heart. It gets heated and it gets ugly and neither side is willing to back down.
The offensive argument goes something like this; “It’s an offensive game now that centers around great quarterbacks, pass protection and talented wide receivers. The game has evolved and changed to the point where defenses are essentially unable to do as they once did in terms of aggression and violence.”
The defensive argument goes something like this; “Defense still wins championships. Look at what the Seahawks did to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. The Steelers must return to playing great defense in order to impose their will on opposing offenses which then sets up the offense for more success.
What you’ll also find in this debate is that those who side with rebuilding the defense almost always believe the running game should be the top priority on offense. This isn’t true in every single case, but I guarantee the majority feel this way.
There’s a large contingent of Steelers’ fans who would love to see Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount carry the ball 45 times per game and win games 17-13 but those days are over.
Regardless of who comes in from this draft, this latest version of the Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense will struggle to even be average. Because of this, the offense will need to carry the team as it did for much of the second half in 2013.
The pro defense side hates to hear this. It pretty much amounts to blasphemy to them. What they fail to see however is that this unit isn’t a year or two away from being a dominant force again. This is going to take time.
What does that mean? It means you need playmakers and that you have stop protecting the LeBeau brand. There are those in the organization that want the running game to return to circa 1975 days in order to keep LeBeau’s defense off the field.
That’s all fine and dandy but how effective will that offense be if the defense is giving up touchdowns every other time down the field?
The defense will not be rebuilt in a day and the offense is closer to carrying this team right now so let it do so.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard weekly on Trib-Live Radio talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.