I mentioned it in the introduction, but now it’s time to talk about it. Even with the great effort against the Bengals, the Steelers defense suffers from a lack of innovation and a tremendous disconnect with the way offenses operate in today’s NFL.
That said, it may be time for Dick LeBeau to call it a career. The Steelers aren’t likely to publicly force his hand, but privately they may ask him to step aside. That’s a tough call. LeBeau is a defensive legend and the designer of some of the league’s best defensive schemes. Asking him to retire is rough, but it might be necessary.
If the Steelers do send LeBeau packing or if he retires on his own, Keith Butler is likely to step up into the coordinator spot. The Steelers have worked hard to keep Butler in the fold. Should he leave for any reason, the Steelers would have to pursue a defensive coordinator.
They will likely have to pursue at least one coach (a replacement linebackers coach for Butler) regardless. This number could go up as well if assistants leave for other positions or if Butler desires to bring in new people for his system.
While this one doesn’t involve a player, it will likely be solved during that period in the offseason where the team is entertaining free agents, possibly impacting free agent negotiations. It bears watching.