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Dick LeBeau, not Todd Haley, should be on hot seat

The Steelers offense sputtered in a 26-6 loss Thursday at Baltimore, managing just two field goals. But it was the lackluster play of the defense that has JP worried, along with the future of its architect.

Justin K. Aller


That's the word that comes to mind when I begin to assess the Steelers effort in a 26-6 loss at Baltimore on Thursday. Is there any other way to describe what happened at M&T Bank Stadium?

At the outset of the game, it didn't look like it was going to be such a bad night. The offense began the game with a 12-play, 64-yard drive that consumed 8:04 and featured three third-down conversions (one aided by a Ravens penalty) of 9 and 14 yards.

Sadly, the promising opening drive came to an end when Justin Brown fumbled away a chance at the Ravens' 15 to take an early lead on the road against the Steelers' biggest rival.

It was all pretty much downhill from there and much of that had to do with the lackluster play of the defense.

For starters, the defensive line provided no push, or any pressure for that matter. As for the linebackers, they ran around for much of the game with little purpose or direction, seemingly racing around in unorganized fashion.

As for the secondary...

See the very top of the article for my thoughts on their night.

Yet as I took to social media during the fray between these two bitter rivals, much of the dissatisfaction from fans seemed to center around the play calling of Steelers OC Todd Haley and how the O was sputtering along, much like it did in the second half last week vs. the Browns.

The offense isn't the problem here.

Ben Roethlisberger was off last night for sure, but he'll rebound. Antonio Brown, despite leaving the game in the first quarter due to a concussion scare, continues to make plays and is the team's biggest threat.

Le'Veon Bell is a star in the making, rushing for 59 yards, including a highlight-reel, 21-yard jaunt where he leaped over a would-be defender with ease. He followed that up on the very next play with a screen pass that covered 19 yards and led to the team's lone, first-half field goal.

Yet all I heard was that Haley needs to go, Haley's offense is stagnant and Haley can't call plays. It's time for the calls for Haley's firing to end and the era of Dick LeBeau to wind down.

LeBeau has spent his entire life in football. His list of accomplishments is long, both as a player and as an innovative defensive coordinator. But all good things must come to an end.

LeBeau's defense allowed Ravens QB Joe Flacco to go 11-for-13 vs. the Steelers D when they rushed five or more against the lanky QB. The Ravens gashed LeBeau's D for 157 rushing yards, averaging 4 yards per carry. Last week, the Browns averaged 5 yards per attempt with two rookies at running back.

The secondary also was bad, collecting four personal-foul calls during the course of the game, allowing several Ravens' drives to continue and produce points. On top of all that, they went a second straight game without forcing a turnover and didn't record even one sack on Flacco the entire night.

It's unacceptable and someone has to pay the price. The past 34 games have been a major indicator that LeBeau's defense isn't confusing NFL offenses anymore. Aside from wholesale changes with players, what else can be done to make significant upgrades that are needed?

LeBeau has spent 56 years as an active member of the NFL. It's time for this season to be his last.

John Phillips is a radio personality for 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and a columnist for Behind The Steel Curtain. Check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.