New Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler has waited patiently to take control of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense and now he gets his chance.
The Steelers and longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau decided to part ways after the 2014 season and Butler was promoted to the position.
Butler 58 ,joined the Steelers in 2003 and coached the linebackers for 12 seasons. During this time he has had a few opportunities to be a defensive coordinator elsewhere but opted to wait for the position with the Steelers.
Butler has a lot of work ahead of him.The Steelers 2014 defense ranked 18th in points allowed averaging 23 points surrendered a game. They also ranked 18th in yards surrendered, averaging 353.4 yards a game in 2014.
The Steelers weakest area on defense was the pass defense,ranking 27th overall and giving up an average of 253.1 yards passing a game.
The lack of a consistent pass rush has been an on going problem ,the Steelers ranked 26th overall in 2014 with only 33 total sacks.Keith Butler and the Steelers must address this problem in 2015 for the defense to be successful.
Butler inherits a young,mostly inexperienced defense with many of it’s core veteran players now gone or at the latter stages of their careers.
The Steelers have started somewhat of a youth movement on defense and it’s now up to Butler to find the best way to utilize these young players and their skill sets into his defense.
It’s widely thought that the core of the Steelers defense under Butler will remain the same but we can expect some changes as Butler adds his own stamp and own philosophies moving forward.
Butler spoke to Steelers.com about his defensive philosophies and what he expects from his players,shortly after he was named defensive coordinator in January…
Keith Butler: “It’s not much different than most people’s philosophy would be. We definitely have to stop the run, we have to make offenses one-dimensional if we can, and we have to put pressure on the quarterback. If we can do those things, then we can help the offense. We have to get the ball back for the offense – that’s our main goal.”
“I would consider myself a whatever-it-takes-to-win guy. If it’s a 3-4, that’s fine, if that fits your players. I think you have to be able to fit your defense around the players you have. With what offenses are doing nowadays in the National Football League, they’re playing a lot of three wide receivers and a tight end and a running back, for the most part. In those situations, we’re going to be in kind of a 4-3 anyway, but we’re still going to be able to run the 3-4 also. It gives you a little bit more versatility, I think.”
“Hopefully we’re going to be seeing some guys really running to the football and hustling. There’s nothing that pleases me more than to see the guys surrounding the ball, and gang-tackling, and playing what I call team defense, and relying on each other to be where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there.”
The 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers defense should be interesting,if nothing else ,as we wait and watch to see what Butler brings to the defense.
For Keith Butler the wait is over and the time is now.