Should the Steelers fire Mike Tomlin? Maybe. Will they fire Mike Tomlin? No. That is simply not how the Rooney family works, and we know that. That is why, even if I won’t object to him being let go, I know it will not happen. However, something needs to happen, and at the very least, it is clear what needs to be done.
Keith Butler has to be fired.
Blame Tomlin and Butler for the defensive philosophies, sure, that is fine, and honestly, reasonable. After all, while it does appear Butler has lots of autonomy based off of the film, there is no way Tomlin does not sign off on these game plans. However, it would seem Butler is the one designing and carrying these out.
Keith Butler is a terrible defensive coordinator and continues to make some of the worst decisions I have ever seen as it pertains to defensive scheme and more. Want an example from the Saints game? Here you go:
@Alex_Kozora pointed this out, but why are the Steelers in dime here on the goal line? It makes no sense at all. Just another one of the Keith Butler follies, this dude should be canned at the end of the year, playoffs or not. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/XpoX87i3Pq— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 25, 2018
Any defensive coach at the high school level should know that dime should never be passable on the goal line. There are 6 lineman in for the Saints’ offense here and you expect your DBs to beat them? Mike Hilton actually does squirt through, but he has no shot against Alvin Kamara.
Butler seems to struggle with how to disguise zone coverage, and when he does, shockingly, he shuts down Tom Brady. I have a suspicion that Tomlin has had a lot of input in this defense since the Raiders game, because Tampa 2 and man coverage have shown up more, and for once, bracket and double coverages were used. However, he really shouldn’t have allowed the defensive schemes to go as called for so long.
Butler isn’t good, and the worst of it all, is that his personnel decisions continue to baffle everyone to this day. How many times are you going to see a LB on a top receiver like Keenan Allen or Michael Thomas?
Biggest play of the game, LJ Fort and Marcus Allen have been great. WHO CARES LETS TAKE THEM OFF THE FIELD FOR JON BOSTIC AND VINCE WILLIAMS. Keith Butler is schematic disaster. He should be fired after this season, I don't care what improvement you've seen. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/iGmrBAafJe— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 3, 2018
We all remember this play, but I can point to you a number of times where LBs were plopped onto WRs in the slot, and that is a schematic misunderstanding. With Morgan Burnett and Cam Sutton at least being competent, there is no excuse for that. And why does Sean Davis have to come across the field on some plays to cover guys like Christian McCaffery and Kamara? That isn’t disguising coverages, that is just leaving him exposed.
A point I have made in the past is how the zone blitzes Keith Butler dials up are largely ineffective. The new NFL is built well for zone blitzes with new chipping mechanisms among other things, but once they start running a Tampa 2 blitz? Watch out, because it works. Tomlin, likely, as he is a heavy Tampa 2 guy, implemented that into the scheme, and that is what Stephon Tuitt’s sack came on.
The Tom Brady interception? A weak side twist, one of the best blitzing mechanisms in the NFL, honestly, and one Butler seldom uses.
The point here is how Butler does not have personnel down, he doesn’t know his packages and when to use them, he is a terrible situational coordinator, and worst of all, the scheme he employs is outdated. That is why you can blame Tomlin all you want, but you cannot fix an outdated scheme in one offseason if that is that coordinators scheme, unless, of course, you fire said coordinator.
That is why Keith Butler must go. There is nothing else to be said. He should have been gone last year, but this year, with Tomlin’s concepts showing more promise in sprinkles than the non-disguised Cover 2 and Cover 3 concepts of Butler’s zone heavy scheme, this is where they should draw the line.