Steelers Burning Question: Who is more at fault for the defensive woes? Mike Tomlin or Keith Butler?
Pittsburgh Steeler fans will go on welcome back to another episode of the Steelers burning question, I'm Jeff hardman editor of behind the steel curtain dot com here with you for another weekly installment of this solo episode where I answer a question that might just be on a lot of folks minds that follow the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, if you haven't heard the news yet, and maybe you haven't because there have been a lot of sources that have come out with us, but the Pittsburgh post gazette writer, Jerry dulack put out that recently the Steelers organization and Mike Tomlin ultimately decided that instead of replacing outside linebacker Joey outside linebacker coach. Reporter they decided to just have Keith Butler defensive coordinator take over those duties now a lot of people myself included, I might what? Well, then I thought about it a little bit more. And I understood that Butler has plenty of experience in this arena. And. Fact, he was the linebackers. Coach was prior to them having an inside linebacker special coach specialty coach an outside linebacker specialty coach I used to be just Butler himself. This is under the dick lebeau regime. Duke LeBow was forced out of town. Keith. A is when you organization decided to bring in Jerry will sassy coach the inside linebackers and Joey porter to coach the outside. Clearly, they fire Jerry porter or his contract was not renewed. Same thing in my opinion. None the less. It's all semantics and so instead of bringing in an outside source for talk. We heard any named like Kevin Greene was thrown around the lot. They decided to say hey on top of being the defensive coordinator urine. Now be responsible for the development and production of players. I T J watt, and bud depre- and whomever else they might bring it now at this time. I also think myself in this was noted in do lex article that this is the only coordinator that has a secondary duty, for instance, rain defeat and is also still the quarterbacks coach, I get that. But he's going to be dealing and talking with Ben Rothlisberger a ton anyways. In terms of how they draw up plays. And how they. They focus on specifics in how they're going to attack defense as pretty much the same thing. I ask though, how is this going to change the way Keith Butler does his job because think about it this offseason? Terms of the coaching staff has been some changes, you know, out side of Joey porter. They bring in tarot Austin who used to be the defensive coordinator the Bengals who was fired midseason. He's a defensive assistant. That's going to be also helping out the secondary, very odd. Emma seemed as if they're going to have to coordinators, you know, Austin in Butler Butler will take care of the front seven. And then clearly awesome. Take care of the back end. I'm not saying that's how it's going to happen. It just seems like maybe that's the direction they're headed. With that said, I think that we all myself included can look at this situation and say if there's a weakness on this Pittsburgh Steelers team, whether it was two thousand eighteen or whether it was moving looking ahead to two thousand nineteen it's on the defensive side of the football. It's not that the offense hasn't had issues. We know that they do. But at the same time this defense has some glaring glaring weaknesses. And so you can talk about coaching. You can talk about a lot of different things. The question the burning question on tonight's episode is who is more to blame. Head coach Mike Tomlin defensive coordinator. Keith butler. The reason I asked is because it's a season ended. Everyone always wants to fire Tomlin. And there's a lot of people that have some serious underlying issues with Mike Tomlin that don't have anything to do with football. That's fact, not saying that's a vast majority of fans, but there are plenty that won him gone. For obvious reasons that have nothing to do with coaching. Now, I think outside of that. And there's a lot of people that wanna Tomlin gone for all the drama and stuff that has come out. And then miraculously so you can't say that that isn't factual. But at the same time, I think if you take Tomlin I got I feel like I should a Twitter poll prior to this show hindsight's always twenty twenty and said, you know, who would you want to be gone more Tomlin or Butler? I think the majority of people would probably say Butler. I gotta be honest. I mean, you try to keep your fingers on the pulse of Steeler nation on all the platforms behind the steel curtain is on you have, you know, Instagram, not Ceram, but Twitter Facebook in a lot of those fans is really really really hated the way the Keith Butler ran a unit so who's to blame more. Well, let's break it down. There's a lot that there's a lot to dig through. Here's let's break it down one at a time. First and foremost, I think that might Tomlin is a head coach is naturally going to he's going to have a vast majority of the blame put on him. And he's head coach that comes with the territory, he said openly that you know, what it's just one of the situations where a head coach, you know, when you lose your going to be blamed more when you win you're not going to be given the credit necessarily that you deserve. But at the same time, that's that's part of the job description. I I asked myself where are the shortcomings on the defense first off its personnel. And I think okay, we'll get the draft picks that have not panned out you think about Jarvis Jones, you know, players like that. I drive is now already Burns's in that mix. This really bad pigs. I could go on don't wanna spend too much time on that. Then you look at even acquisition of players so free agency. Even rose recently Morgan Burnett. You think about the decisions to extend players like Cortez Allen and lead players go Akina now, and who I think outperformed court to there's just so many decisions that are made. And you just don't know because we're not there who is really pulling the trigger until when they went and watched. When they watched some of these players in the draft, and they're looking at their college film and Jarvis Jones the perfect example when they went to Georgia, and they were saying, okay, we're looking at Jarvis Jones. This is we're checking out, you know, what's he like is he capable is you Keith Butler this going into that draft room and saying this is our guy this is who we want. Or is it Mike Tomlin? I know that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin and art Rooney the second or the ones are gonna pull the trigger on the deal. But ultimately, I wonder how much input Butler has. And so you look at it from a personnel standpoint. And defensively it hasn't been very good because for every TJ watt. They've had they've had Jarvis Jones. You know for every bud Duprey who's been a average linebacker not a first round pick. You know, the then they find these Mike helton's that are drafted free agents that turn and pan out. You gotta have a give and take there. And then I look at okay coaching style. You know when Mike Tomlin was higher. Heard. He was a Tampa two four three guy. That's what he ran in Minnesota when he was a defensive coordinator for the Vikings. And you handle these situations where he just said, you know, what if it's not broken? We're not gonna fix it. We're going to stick with a bow scheme. We're going to stick with a bow. And they stayed with then obviously Butler takes over. And then all of a sudden Tomlin started getting his hands into the mix little more. They started running more zone covered scheme. They started to really work on the Tampa twos tile defense. But again, I asked the question is this all Tomlin URS this mainly Butler? They've won in the same. So let's get back to the question at hand who's to blame who maybe that's not the best way to put it who shoulders more blame in the fact that this defense who has been in rebuilding mode since probably two thousand eleven it's two we're going into the two thousand nineteen season. Eight years of rebuilding. You should have rebuilt the defense ready. That's that's the way it is. Okay. You look at the offense, and and they'd kind of rebuilt themselves in a lot of different ways. But the defense is seems to knob yet again it there, and there's a lot of blame to go into that. So who is more to blame? Well, I think Keith Butler has plenty of blame to go on his shoulders when it comes to the way that the team prepares the defensive game plan going into games to me that's on Keith Butler. It falls on his shoulder. That's a Mike Tomlin's. Gotta sign off on this stuff. He's the head coach. I get that. But Tomlin is not in the defensive Filmer in the entire time. He's gotta be over in the offense aside special teams. He's thr- spread pretty thin Butler's, the one's gotta come up with some of these games. And you think about the way some of these games have played out. And you're thinking my goodness. Who saw what what in the world is this game plan? You know? L at the same time you have to save. Do we give Keith Butler a lot of credit because this defense has put up one hundred and eight sacks in the last two seasons? Fifty six setting a new franchise record two thousand seventeen in fifty two tied for the NFL lead in two thousand eighteen so for as bad as some things are with his defense. They do know how to get after the quarterback that's been proven. It's then I look at it into. Okay. What about this head coach who's a defensive guy? That's people often forget, he's a divas of guy. They say this is a hey all defense. This was his forte. How's the defense that bad? And that's a question every wants to know until me the answer. This question who is more blame? It has to be Mike Tomlin because for all those categories that I broke down personnel players. Whether it's free agent acquisitions and fell draft handling the players currently on the team on the defensive side of the football. All of that it boils down to the head coach. And I guarantee their circumstances and situations or Mike Tomlin will Trump Butler, and they were going to do it this way. Sometimes maybe it's maybe Tomlin does that. And we don't know this because we're not there again. But maybe Tomlin did have prior to the New England Patriots game said, look, we're not doing the same old same old. We're going to mix it up. Here's what we're doing. And it works. You don't hear about that? That would help. Mike Tomlin's rep reputation immensely with the fan base. He doesn't care that the same time. We'll never know that either at the same time, you know, it could be Tom on that marches into the room. It says against the Oakland Raiders, we're going to do this this and bother might be sitting on his hands and coach his bad idea. But he's not the head coach Mike Tomlin has to carry the majority of the blame. That's not to say that Keith butlers innocent. It's not to say the Keith Butler doesn't have a mess on his hands as it is. But here's the thing. I bad as the defense is not an article about this today. It was the second part of the three. Part series about how to fix the two thousand nineteen Steelers in I focused on the fence today. It's fitting that I'm doing this topic on the burning question podcast. Check that out if you haven't by the way, but I look at this team and look at his defense in particular. And I say to myself, I don't think there is far off as some might believe. Yeah. The the draft picks have been bad at times. But if was some free agent money available, and they are going to have some money available. If they could find a way to maybe add a safety. That's if Morgan brunette still gets his wish leaves if at a safety a starting cornerback in an inside linebacker, you had those three positions. I think this defense could be very legitimate because I liked the defensive front. I don't mind the Outside Linebackers. I think outside of those positions safety cornerback and inside linebacker. No particular order. I think that this defense the only. Else? You would need is death death on the defensive line depth at outside linebacker debt that you know, corner. The cornerback position insult for that. I don't think this defense is as bad off as people suggest. So yes, there's a lot of blame to go around. And we point fingers we can scream at the mountaintops about whether it's Tomlin or Butler. But ultimately what I'm trying to emphasize here. The end of this show is this defense isn't as bad. I don't think as a lot of people suggest there's a lot of folks out there that think this is the worst defense ever that they're never gonna be able to championship they point to things like Vince Williams to slow. Well, you know what? Vince Williams wasn't that slow and Ryan cheesier is next in because he's not he's not that style of linebacker that can go ahead and take part of the coverage duties away from Ryan shazier, they need to find someone that's Atlantic to fill in that slot. You know that they weren't saying that about when already burns wasn't a complete head case in was just a a mess. They were thinking that this could be one of the better ones who cornerback punches in the league Dhabi's, they didn't pan out. So what do you do? Now, if you're watching live on YouTube, or if you didn't know we had a YouTube channel, go to YouTube search BTS's Steelers radio, I want you to leave a comment letting me know who you put the most blame on is. It might Tomlin is he keeps Butler if you're listening in podcast form, whether it's on ITN's Spotify Google play Stitcher megaphone, which we just transitioned to pretty cool, by the way, or if you're listening on behind the curtain dot com. R I'll put that article up there. Go to the comments section. Let us know what you think. But I ask that you give some explanation. You know, we had a little could we have communities at both both locales is. I don't just say, oh, it's Tomlin. Oh, it's Butler. Why do you think that serve its butlers falls? Why is it butlers fault? If it's Tomlin's fault. Saying thing let us know. I appreciate it. So you know, what I think I think it's Tomlin dull comes out of the Tomlin because he's the head coach. My my question that I have for myself as I say, it's Tomlin is what I say. The Tomlin is is responsible for the shortcomings on the offense. Decided the ball probably not needy. I'm a hypocrite. I don't know. Because maybe it's just because he's a defensive coach. I dunno anyways. I'm anxious to hear what you think. So let us know big props to all the behind the curtain dot com writers in especially my podcast hosting partners, letters, Lance. We by coz on the standard is a standard. He also hosts his own show. Yeah. I said it makes you check out his rain yesterday. And that's all about I in Tonio Brown stands for absolutely bonkers. Not AB eagles, absolutely bonkers. And then all the other shows Jewish previews dealers. Hangover check them out. We appreciate it. As always. I'm Jeff Harvard editor behind his curtain dot com. We'll see you next week. Another Steelers burning question.