It's easy for the young generation of Steeler fans to blame Dick LeBeau for his atrocious defensive performances the last 2 years and attack him for implementing schemes that are allowing NFL running backs (and even QB's) run through a once proud defense with ease. Over and over again we hear the same lines: Coach L. is too old, he doesn't understand the "new" NFL, and my personal favorite.....the game has passed him by.
I'm goin to explain to you in the simplest of terms WHY these things have happened with much greater frequency the last 2 years and it's not because Coach LeBeau's suffering from the onset of dementia. The truth is he has sub-standard play from 2 of the most important positions in the the 3-4 defense, the outside linebackers. There role in the defense can't be described fully in this post and you may ask how are they responsible for our defensive problems.
For starters, our starting OLB are just not getting any pressure on the QB. In years past we had Harrison, Porter, and Woodley. Those guys created so much disruption by always being near the QB that there whole offense would break down. How could a team run a ball when one of our OLB would already be in the backfield when the ball was handed off. How can a team go pass happy against us when our OLB are giving them (literally) 2 seconds to throw.
Our wrong choice to franchise Jason W. and our belief that J.Jones would somehow defy genetics grow 2 times bigger & stronger is now only starting to show how bad we are at these crucial positions. If a nobody from Johnstown Pa. can see this then you better believe the NFL is too.
Jason W. and J.Jones production on the the field for all 4 quarters has actually caused me to completely ignore them though out the game. Sure, they might get a lucky break and get a sack because a offensive lineman slipped but other than that their invisible in the passing game AND the running game.
So before you go into attack mode against Coach dad or crucify our secondary remember it all starts up front. With our OLB helping average running backs look like Gale Sayers and being completely invisible in pass rushing duties, don't blame the DB's for everything. Even a a QB like our very own Landry Jones would look like Dan Fouts if he had the time our OLB are giving quarterbacks we play against.
The solution is not simple and could take years to draft or sign OLB's that could actually do what our 3-4 needs them to do. Until then....let's hope Ryan Shazier can have a large amount of blitz packages for him to make up for the horrible pass rush we now possess.