The Steelers won’t have longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the sideline for the 2015 season, but they didn’t stray too far to find his replacement.
Keith Butler has been on the Steelers staff since 2003, a year before LeBeau returned to the team after spending time in Cincinnati and Buffalo, so he’s well versed in the Steelers’ defensive philosophies. During a chat with the Steelers website after being named the team’s new defensive coordinator, though, Butler resisted tying himself into the familiar 3-4 base scheme that was LeBeau’s bread and butter in Pittsburgh.
“I would consider myself a whatever-it-takes-to-win guy. If it’s a 3-4, that’s fine, if that fits your players. I think you have to be able to fit your defense around the players you have,” Butler said. “With what offenses are doing nowadays in the National Football League, they’re playing a lot of three wide receivers and a tight end and a running back, for the most part. In those situations, we’re going to be in kind of a 4-3 anyway, but we’re still going to be able to run the 3-4 also. It gives you a little bit more versatility, I think.”
The current group of Steelers players were acquired to play for LeBeau, which makes it hard to believe they’ll stray too far in another direction right off the bat. With needs to boost the pass rush and the secondary, it might not be too long before the roster and the look of the defense take on more of Butler’s imprint.