Steelers make Keith Butler their defensive coordinator

AP

The Steelers have settled on their replacement for Dick LeBeau as defensive coordinator.

As expected, the team has announced that Keith Butler will take over LeBeau’s duties. Butler met with Mike Tomlin about the job on Monday, a couple of days after the announcement that LeBeau would not return to the team.

Butler has been on the Steelers staff as a linebackers coach since 2003 and has been referred to as the coordinator in waiting for the last few years while rejecting chances to make move up the ladder with other teams looking for a coordinator.

His long experience with LeBeau and the Steelers likely means that there won’t be any radical changes to the team’s approach on defense. With players like Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor possibly at the end of the line for a team that struggled against the pass in 2014, there should be some changes coming to ensure that teams can’t have their way with the Steelers through the air in 2015.

46 responses to “Steelers make Keith Butler their defensive coordinator

  1. This is irrelevant as are the Steelers since being Tebowed out of the playoffs years ago. When you can’t beat Tampa Bay and the NY Jets who cares who is the coach, you have bigger problems

  2. Afc north champs. Just want you bungle and ratbird trolls to know this before you start spewing your hate rant on this thread! oh. And of course our 6 lombardi’s which you majorly envy!

  3. I love the coaching trees.

    Looks like Tomlin was D-Backs coach at Arkansas State in ’98 when Butler was DC.

    Really, they had to make a change.

    God Bless LeBeau but even Chuck Noll stayed too long.

  4. “His long experience with LeBeau and the Steelers likely means that there won’t be any radical changes to the team’s approach on defense.”

    Ehhhhhhxcellent.

  5. LeBeau was a great DC for the Steelers. But sounds like they had a succession plan in place to make as seamless a transition as possible.

  6. LeBeau was the heart and sould of that entire oganization, no to mention the most (maybe only) truely respected man in the organization. This is decline into the dark ages for the steelers. Can’t wait for another stellar draft from Tomilin.

    – All AFC North teams

    …bye bye steelers

  7. Imagine the depression of losing a playoff game that you were winning by 14 points TWICE and were one step away from playing in the Super Bowl. And you get a lower draft pick than the team that beat you to win the AFC North crown. That is gonna sting for a very long time. Ouch.

  8. holeinone09 says:
    Jan 13, 2015 11:57 AM
    Imagine the depression of losing a playoff game that you were winning by 14 points TWICE and were one step away from playing in the Super Bowl. And you get a lower draft pick than the team that beat you to win the AFC North crown. That is gonna sting for a very long time. Ouch.

    Imagine getting knocked out of the playoffs by that team! Imagine how much worse your team would have been beaten in that game. Imagine wasting a higher draft pick yet again (Mosley > Shazier )…

  9. Good man, good job not letting him leave. Here’s hoping he helps young defenders succeed much faster than under LeBeau. Waiting 2-3 years to let a young player hit the field is unacceptable in today’s league, with shorter rookie contracts.

  10. flaccodelic, yes let’s judge the career success of 2 rookies after the first year. CJ had a tremendous year, Shazier was injured. Remember all the flak the Steelers received for taking Bell over Lacey? So far it’s been a win-win for both the Packers and Steelers.

  11. Butler was a free agent, and he’s been wooed by other teams for D Coordinator positions the last several seasons, but has stayed with Pit out of loyalty and succession plan. I’m sure Coach Lebeau wanted to stay, but understood Pit and Butler’s positions. He is a great coach and guy so I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. Hopefully, it’s a win win!

  12. vikingsftw, that’s rich, a Vikings fan predicting doom and gloom for a team. Here’s a little hint, all of the other AFCN fans predicted 6-10 or worse with a basement finish this past season and the Steelers ended up 11-5 with a division title.

  13. Lebeau was shown the door. So much for loyalty in today’s win at all costs NFL. The Steelers are considered a class act in the NFL but this was a classless move to a player and coach who has given so much to the organization but they decided it was time to move on. Good luck with that.

  14. The steelers won the afc north division and their defense only played average this year. With Keith Butler building back up the defense to a top five defensive ranking. The Steelers will continue stay on top the division for years.

  15. Matt Elam is a bust. We won the division. Forsett is going to someone with cap space. The Ravens will cut Ngata this summer.

    Enjoy the offseason. We own the NORTH.

  16. We shouldn’t be bragging about winning the North when we went out and then lost big to the Ratbirds!
    Pick your battles and words, jtb…
    you’re embarring.

  17. Last year Steeler fans were telling Bengals that division titles don’t mean squat. Year before (up to Super Bowl) telling the Ravens the same thing.

    Well it is true Division titles don’t mean squat. Carolina got one too.

    Steelers may have won the North but it meant absolutely nothing when they got spanked the very next week.

  18. Now if they can find an OC & HC, they’ll be set.


    Hmm last time I checked Ben Roethlisberger led the NFL in passing yards, Antonio brown was the top WR in the league, and le’veon bell led the AFC in rushing. Brown and bell were both also named to the all-pro team so I think the offense is fine. Plus they won the division so tomlin must be doing something right.

  19. Sorry to see LeBeau leave in these circumstances, but tomthebombtracy is right: Even Noll stayed too long.

    Butler’s been grooming for this position a long time, so this should be a relatively seamless transition. He learned from the best. And anyone suggesting we need a new offensive coordinator obviously wasn’t paying attention this season.

  20. Saw comment from steeler fans the Keith Butler learned from the best. If that’s the case then why did they get rid of the best ???

    19 9
    Report comment

    Iam sure as a Raven fan you can understand sometimes you have to let them go…ya know like after the video they had to let Rice go. In this case it was just time for a change and not an embarrassment wouldn’t you agree?

  21. Glad to hear this. To be honest, I was a little nervous the Steelers were going to do something unexpected here. Phew!

    Look forward to seeing what Butler does.

  22. Steelers may have won the North but it meant absolutely nothing when they got spanked the very next week.

    You are wrong and are still smarting because you finished behind the Steelers again and will have to live that down during the off season chest puffing championship you boasting Raven fans so dearly love to engage in.

    Butler is a good choice and learned from the best, but even the best can become too predictable. There is only one LeBeau and Butler will have av new twist on an old theme that will take opponents time to adjust to. Times change people change and change us like a new pair of shoes it takes time to break themin.

  23. Steelers may have won the North but it meant absolutely nothing when they got spanked the very next week.

    To say that a division title means nothing is ridiculous. Especially when it was earned by a team that underachieved the first 6 games with bad losses to bad teams and a defense that had 7 starters in and out of the line-up all year. To be a team in transition with back to back 8-8 seasons and then an 11-5 AFC North Title season is like having a Super Bowl season to most other teams. Browns, Browns 2.0 and Bengals fans were proclaiming how the Steelers would finish in the basement. Playoff loss notwithstanding, Steelers had a great season in 2014.

  24. ravensaresuperior says:
    Jan 13, 2015 11:37 AM
    Can’t believe they pushed that old man out the door like that. This team is beyond reproach.
    _____________________________________________________

    It’s almost akin to firing the coach (that delivered your team’s only Lombardi) after 3 bad years….

  25. Ravens may have won the WC round but it meant absolutely nothing when they got spanked the very next week.

  26. I like the fact that Pittsburgh doesn’t chase guys that have had success somewhere else. They promote and develop. Cowher was never a head coach anywhere else before Pittsburgh and Tomlin was not either. Nobody aside from LeBeau in the league knows this defense better than Butler, as he has either coached it or coached against it with the Browns over the last 15 years. I am sure he will make it his own, add some new variances and evolve it.

  27. Any flapping about how cutting ties with LeBeau is disrespectful, classless, etc., are made in an ignorant vacuum. Butler has been nearly poached before and has been blocked from interviews. His contract is up. It was either keep Dick, who at 77 cannot stick around forever, and lose Butler, or cut ties with Dick and hold onto Butler who has been the DC in waiting for years. He was not going to wait any more. My two cents. Rooney did this with great distaste, but at a certain point, you have ensure the future good of the team.

  28. Division titles don’t mean anything to us. For teams who aren’t used to Super Bowls they mean a lot….bungles, rat birds, Carolina etc. our standards are a bit higher than that. It’s our legacy

  29. Surprising they aren’t going to change the defense around. LeBeau’s defense was solved years ago by quite a few of the head coaches and offensive coordinators around the league.

  30. There is nothing better than keeping the coaching job within the organization, Butler has been with us longer than LeBeaux had and he is a major part of LeBeaux’s schemes and tactics, i believe he would be as good for the job as LeBeaux and possibly better if they change some of the tactics in play calling, best of luck to the entire team, players and fans who love the Steelers to death,

  31. I could be the D Coordinator for the Steelers and they’d still easily be the best defense in the division.

  32. Let’s recap fellas (in case you all forget):

    72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 79, 84, 94, 95, 97, 01, 04, 05, 08, and 10.

    That is 15 times our of 49 we have played for the right to win the conf and represent the AFC in the SB.

    That is more than any other franchise. And I am extremely confident that we will play for it it again in 2015/2016.

    Facts are stubborn things – in this case consistency. #blackandgold

  33. After 13 years of being a Steelers fan, I was on the verge of rescinding my Steelers fandom…
    …when they do this classy move! Good on ya’, Steelers – way to stay true to your promise to Keith Butler after all these years. I became a fan because of how classy this organization is, I had feared the culture had declined under Tomlin, but it seems that that aspect has not changed.

    The only other thing I can deduce from this, is that if so many teams wanted to take Keith from us, he can’t be all bad.

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