After the 55-31 loss to the New England Patriots, many questions have been thrown around about the competence of Steelers' Hall of Fame defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau and his defense. When asked about how he perceived LeBeau as a coordinator on the team, Tomlin's response was what short, but astute.
"He's Dick LeBeau," the 7th year head coach said. "Does that answer your question?
Instead of reading off the resume of his defensive coordinator or giving a long-winded explanation of why he still sees LeBeau as an effective coordinator, he delivered his opening and closing arguments with three simple words.
While those who may believe LeBeau's time should be up as defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh do have several valid points, Tomlin's stance on the questioning of LeBeau is similar to that of the standard supporters of the 76 year old coordinator. The defenses that Pittsburgh has put on the field with LeBeau at the helm have consistently been ranked atop the NFL and his zone blitz schemes have been seen integrated into several opposing defenses.
Whether or not that will justify a continued stay for LeBeau remains to be seen. After yielding the most points in franchise history it is not irrational to question his stay, but all the while it is equally not irrational to argue that the defensive letdown has been more so because of the play on the field than the coaching from the sideline.
Meanwhile, as the blame spreads as quickly, Kevin Colbert has also come under fire for the lack of personnel who are top-tier NFL talents. Most notable as the source of the problem has been the poor draft years of 2008, 2009 and the several high picks that have not worked their way to being elite or successful players in the league. Players such as Jason Worilds were drafted over athletes who have performed better but drafted lower such as Sean Lee, or Rashard Mendenhall over Ray Rice.
The house of Colbert used to be one of the more recognized cornerstones of the Pittsburgh Steelers' success. Recently because of the team's recent misses in NFL drafts, that recognition has turned into doubt in the hearts of many fans and observers, biased and otherwise.
But yet again, when a question arose that may have included the questioning of his colleague, coach Tomlin gave a short response that kept Colbert's name away from any response that could have been spun into a criticism by reporters or onlookers.
The question was asked on how much Tomlin played a role in the recent draft decisions, Tomlin simply replied, “I take responsibility for the players we've drafted.”
Acceptance of responsibility from the Steelers' head coach has been something that hasn't been dodged by Tomlin, and even when the shortcomings of the team are the worse it as been under his tenure. Before this year, the worse the team had been after eight games was 5-3 and barring a remarkable turnaround, this year will also be the first time the team had had a losing record under Tomlin.
Whether or not LeBeau will stay on after the 2013 season concludes is still a question to be answered, but at a later time. The team still has plenty of snaps to improve their performance this season and the fourth quarter debacle in New England is behind them. Tomlin knows that LeBeau has "moved on" from what happened there and is gearing up for the next game against Buffalo. Hopefully the rest of the team can move on as well and put together a solid performance this Sunday.
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