In the 90s when the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was known affectionately as ‘Blitzburgh’, the team transitioned to a 3-4 defense and started a trend not only in the NFL, but within the franchise. From Dom Capers to Dick LeBeau and now Keith Butler, the Steelers still call the 3-4 home, even though they don’t play as much of it as they once did.
Regardless of frequency, a 3-4 defense is predicated on the success of their outside linebackers. Throughout history the Steelers have had many notable outside linebackers. Everyone from Joey Porter, Jason Gildon and even current linebacker T.J. Watt.
But the best groups were ones that worked in tandem. You want to take one away, then get ready to get burned by the other. It was a true ‘Pick Your Poison’ scenario with these sets of OLBs, and was the crux of this article/series.
When thinking about the best OLB tandems in Steelers’ history, focusing on the 3-4 schematic linebackers (sorry Jack Ham), the obvious pairs are:
Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd and James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
The 90s tandem of Greene and Lloyd were dominant in every stretch of the word, but failed to bring a Lombardi trophy home to Pittsburgh. Woodley and Harrison were able to get to two Super Bowls, and brought back Super Bowl 43 in dramatic fashion.
When making this choice it shouldn’t be strictly based on statistics. For instance, if you are looking at nothing but sack production, it could sway your vote one way. But if you are to look at the entire picture, including the ability to play in space and in coverage, it might point you to a different tandem.
With that said, of the two tandems, which would you consider the best in the ‘Pick Your Poison’ style contest? Let us know by voting in the poll below, and be sure to also let your voice be heard in the comment section below this article!
Which OLB tandem was best?
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