A popular sentiment among Steelers fans: Larry Foote is old, slow and a liability in the passing game.
The reality Steelers fans are missing: Larry Foote is an experienced, solid linebacker and the contract the Steelers gave him was the smart move to make.
After an objective and thorough review of Foote's performance on tape this season, Foote is not spectacular, but he is very solid. He is not going to make spectacular plays, but he is not going to give up plays either. He's a smart, veteran linebacker capable of leading this defense during a transition time.
I base this opinion on what I saw while reviewing eight games from 2012. I tried to pick out the games in which the Steelers defense played well (the first Baltimore game), and games in which the defense played not so well (the Dallas game).
Some of this may surprise you.
Foote's strength is actually in the passing game. He is terrific in pass coverage. In the second Baltimore game, he got beat on a jerk route by Ray Rice for a first down. But, that is the exception, not the rule.
Because of Foote's experience, he has seen every route coverage in football. As a result, he is able to anticipate routes and throws very well. This always puts him around the ball. Watching the game on TV, you might think that he was getting beat in coverage since he is always around the completion. That is not the case at all. What you don't see are the times when the quarterback has to pull the ball down because of excellent coverage.
It's not all praise and glory for the Steelers' 11-year veteran though. Foote moves well in coverage because he is not very big. However, this does not transfer well to getting off blocks. Once Foote is blocked, he normally stays blocked.