Following a season in which the defense has performed as poorly as it ever has during his tenure, the Pittsburgh Steelers had decided that it was time for a changing of the guard, and Dick LeBeau came to the mutual decision along with the organization that he would resign as defensive coordinator.
The fact that longtime linebackers coach Keith Butler, the incumbent for the job, had been patiently waiting his turn, a wait that included turning down other opportunities, and that his contract was coming up, certainly played a role in the timing of the transition.
Yet we still have yet to hear from Coach Butler since he earned the job, outside of a brief Q&A with Bob Labriola for the team’s website that was published on the day his promotion was announced, which revealed little in the way of substantive change.
Sure, we heard briefly from Lawrence Timmons while he was at the Pro Bowl, telling us that he himself looks forward to seeing the changes that Butler will bringing, adding that he expects that the team might blitz more.
Yesterday, former Steelers linebacker James Farrior weighed in, giving his thoughts on how his former position coach will do taking over for LeBeau, but had little more insight than anybody else, simply saying that “it will be similar, but he will add a little spice to it” and calling him an “aggressive” coach.
So after four months, we still know about as little as we did about how Butler will run his defense that can’t be naturally assumed than we did when the news first came out. And that is not for a lack of opportunities.
While not always, or often the case, occasionally coordinators will come up to the podium following a draft selection rather than a position coach.
That was the case, for example, in the second and third rounds of the 2013 NFL draft when the Steelers selected running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Markus Wheaton, respectively, with offensive coordinator Todd Haley addressing the media.
It’s not surprising, of course, for a coordinator not to speak. After all, after the first round, it is generally the position coaches who discuss their players. But we usually hear from the coordinators soon after the draft, as when LeBeau talked about Ryan Shazier last year.
There certainly seems to be some deliberation behind the team’s decision to keep Butler out of the spotlight, whom we have not heard speak publicly for some time now. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course.
There is obviously no pressing need for the Steelers to reveal any details about what changes we may expect to see from the defense under their new coordinator. In fact, there is virtually no gain from doing so, beyond creating some buzz, perhaps. While it is perfectly reasonably that we have yet to hear from him, however, I can’t help but look forward to hearing him speak about his defense for the first time, perhaps at minicamp.