Pittsburgh Steelers LB Coach Keith Butler Might Go To Titans, Future Of Defense In Jeopardy

June 12, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler instructs as linebacker Brandon Hicks (44) listens during minicamp at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has a reputation for being nasty, tough, and stingy when it comes to giving up yards and points.  Lately, the defense has shown its chinks in the armor.  No longer is this vaunted defense a stout run stopping force.  The secondary is porous, and giving up big plays has become all too common among an aging defense that has finally begun to show its age.  The situation has the potential to get even worse in the ‘Burgh.

Many in Steeler Nation point the finger at Steelers defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, for most of what ails this defense.  Young capable men rot on the bench in favor of veterans who are more familiar with the ‘complicated’ defensive schemes.  LeBeau has garnered a reputation that is far different from what the constructed legend is really known for: He’s become stubborn – unwilling to change his approach of letting the younger guys play, making halftime adjustments, and seemingly letting the defense implode as offenses march down the field and overcome 10 point deficits.  LeBeau’s retirement couldn’t come sooner for most people, but there really is no sign as to when that will happen for the 76 year old hawk.  I’ve been strongly opinionated about this defense in the past, and Dicky is becoming a liability to the current success of this team.  Now it appears he could become a liability to the future success of this team.

According to NFL reporter Jason LaCanfora, the new head coach for the Tennessee Titans, Ken Whisenhunt, is looking to get Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler on as his new defensive coordinator.  It’s no secret that Butler is more than capable of becoming a DC for any team in the NFL.  It’s also no secret that Butler is sticking around in Pittsburgh in hopes of getting one of the most coveted DC appointments in the entire league – the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Butler has been with the Steelers since 2003, and how he hasn’t left is simply amazing.  It shows his commitment to the Steelers organization, and also his passion and desire to become the next defensive coordinator for the Steelers.

If Butler leaves the Steelers for the Titans (or any other team for that matter), it will be a huge loss to the Steelers and its defense.  I hope that this news strikes a chord with the Steelers brass and they make a concrete and quick decision on LeBeau.  Rooney, during his state of the Steelers union this past week, did not hide the fact the defense was the weak link on the team and needed vast improvement.  LeBeau is no longer the future for this defense.  Butler certainly could be… and should be.  Keeping LeBeau and losing Butler would also be a huge blow to a linebacking core that is getting younger and needs strong coaching – another painful loss and step back to this team in its quest to move above .500 in 2014.

There aren’t many others who could step into the role like Butler could (maybe Carnell Lake… maybe).  Steelers need to make a move or The Wiz, now down in Tennessee, could shift the tide of Pittsburgh West by bringing Keith Butler onto his coaching staff.  The Steelers could potentially block the move according to LaCanfora.

Your move Steelers.

Topics: Keith Butler, Ken Whisenhunt, Pittsburgh Steelers

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  • rn

    This may be the worst thing ever published on the internet. First off LeBeau started two rookies this year with another seeing quite a lot of time in sub packages, you can’t blame him for the lack of youth/talent in the secondary. Secondly you completely ignore the fact that the Steelers have the right to deny any request for Butler to interview for another team, providing it’s not for a HC position.

    • bubbahotepp

      No, he did not completely ignore the fact that the Steelers have the right to deny any request for Butler. He mentions it in the second to last line of the article. And his criticism of LeBeau is on the money. No disrespect to Dick — his legacy speaks for itself — but he IS stubborn and constantly refuses to make adjustments during a game. His schemes have been figured out by just about everyone and he is absolutely known for letting young guys rot on the bench. They finally clocked some time this year out of necessity — either injuries, ineffectual play from veterans, or both (paging LaMarr Woodley). Butler’s departure would be a huge blow to the franchise.

      • muku

        His schemes have not been figured out as the Steelers always have a top10 pass defense unit… The only reason the run D is terrible is because they dont have a Casy Hamptom like player on the team.

    • Mark

      LeBeau started two rookies because he had no other options, not because he wanted to. 32 yr old Foote, tore his bicep early and was done for the year, so Williams started. Worilds/Jones started for the released 34 yr old Harrison. Jones played better than Worilds initially so he go the job. Another good example of him not trusting the young guys is when we resigned Will Allen. Sharmarko Thomas disappeared from the field and 32 yr old Allen took his place. Why not give the young guys some snaps? Clark absolutely lost a step this year, why didnt he sub in Thomas once in a while to gain some experience? Remember last year everyone thought Worilds and Heyward were complete busts? Well suprise! theyre not. Probably because they finally got a chance to play after riding the bench for 2-3yrs.
      If Butler leaves I wouldn’t blame him, they’ve jerked him around enough. I’m suprised he stayed around this long.

      • Dom DiTolla

        Oh yeah, Hampton proved to be a real force when the Steelers’ defense was shredded by the likes of Tim Tebow in the 2011 playoffs, lost to Oakland, Tennessee and Cleveland in 2012. Moreover, go back and read what Palmer and Hasselbeck said after they played the Steelers in 2012. Both of them knew exactly what LeBeau was throwing at them from a schematic perspective.

        I should also mention that Thomas did not receive a single defensive snap over the regular season’s final 7 games. I’m glad Mark and others understand that the only way LeBeau will play youngsters is as a complete and total last resort.

    • Craig

      Yeah. What Mark said. You and Carl must come from the same school…..

  • Anthony B

    If he leaves Kevin Greene could come in and take his place…I am good friends with this nephew and he already has been talking to Tomlin (they talked right after the GB vs Pitt game this year) I think it could open the doors for a future HOF linebacker 5th on the all time sack list to come back to where it all started…THE BURG

  • Carl Eagan

    Just another clown who can’t admit the Steeler’s have only stopped making defensive adjustments the past 6 years. This clown would like people to believe that Lebeau is the only one making personnel decisions if he told the truth it would be Tomlin who is at fault and not Lebeau. He won’t tell the truth on his hero. The reality is it doesn’t matter who the coordinator or linebackers coach is with Tomlin interfering the defense won’t be very good.

    • Craig

      Carl, why don’t you go troll somewhere else. You OBVIOUSLY have read none of my posts where I take Tomlin to task over and over again. Seems like you’re the clown because you certainly fit the shoes with these kinds of remarks. Go home back to the big top unless you feel like criticizing within the true context of a post.

      • Dom DiTolla

        Carl, the ignorance you constantly put on display in the comments section here would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Do you even watch football? I’m being serious.

    • scott sinclair

      Carl, your ignorance and ineptitude and overall disrespect speaks more about you and your lack of insight than it does anything else. All year long Craig, Dom, and I have been calling out Tomlin and holding him accountable for the overall state of the team. However, removing Lebeau from any accountabiity shows a lack of knowledge about what’s really going on with this team. As Dom asked, do you watch football at all??

  • John A Stewart

    Let him go if it were up to Butler he would never start rookies.I would love for coach Lake to be the next head D coach I truly believe he would be better than Butler. If Tomlin can be a head D coach for the Vikings I know damn well Lake will be better than him the standard is the standard.