The Steelers gave up 55 points to the Patriots last Sunday, a total that’s out of character with recent Steelers defensive history and which represents the latest degradation in a season piled high with them for the 2-6 squad.
The loss led head coach Mike Tomlin to say that he was angry and disappointed and that the team “will look at every aspect of what we are doing” in an effort to produce better results. According to a couple of members of the Steelers defense, one aspect that doesn’t need any changing is defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
“Somebody has to take the blame,” linebacker LaMarr Woodley said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s just the way it is when you’re having a bad season. Last season I was the one to take the blame. It comes with the territory. Now people want to blame the defensive coordinator.”
“We know what kind of man he is,” safety Ryan Clark said. “We know want kind of work he puts into us not just as football players but as men. We don’t have to defend him. His resume speaks for itself.”
LeBeau didn’t forget how to coach overnight, but a coach can only do so much when the personnel on hand is lacking. The Steelers defense is a mix of aging stalwarts and younger players who haven’t been able to adequately fill the roles of the players they’re replacing, leaving LeBeau’s unit a lot less fearsome than it has looked in the past.
The team needs to address that problem much more than they need to address any issue with the guy calling the plays.