Steelers Kevin Colbert Talks Cover-2, Defensive Philosophy

There’s been a lot of discussion as of late that has centered around the Pittsburgh Steelers running more cover-2 this upcoming season on defense and a few days ago, general manager was asked by Bob Labriola during an interview on Steelers Nation Radio to give his thoughts on the two-deep safety coverage.

“We were talking about it the other day, it was really a defense that evolved as the West Coast offense evolved,” said Colbert. “It was more designed to take away a lot of those elements and it goes to back to Bud Carson. So it’s nothing new, just like the West Coast offense is nothing new, that’s been around since Blanton Collier and Coach Shula, and Coach Walsh learned a lot of his stuff from a Blanton Collier.

“We get carried away sometimes with terms, but it’s very basic. Five underneath people, two deep and it’s designed to keep everything in a shell and take away the deep middle with a deep dropping linebacker. It’s a very basic coverage that’s effective. A lot of teams simply run a lot of cover-2 and they win Super Bowls with it.”

While we may indeed see more cover-2 now that Keith Butler has taken over for Dick LeBeau as the team’s defensive coordinator, Colbert was asked if there will be a different philosophy with a new person calling the defensive shots.

“I’m guessing and I think Keith’s guessing at this point because he has to get comfortable with the players and I’m sure he and Coach Tomlin will design the defense around our players, said Colbert. “And this is a different cast of players than Coach LeBeau had because there won’t be an Ike [Taylor], there won’t be a Troy [Polamalu], there won’t be a [Brett] Keisel.

“So I think how the defense evolves, I think it will be very similar to what Coach LeBeau did, because that was Keith’s background before he even got here. Of course, he enhanced his learning from being around Coach LeBeau, but I’m sure he’ll add his own little touches. But I think it will be really predicated on what we find ourselves having defensively, and right now that’s a big open question, because we’re going to rely on a lot of young guys to step up and come through.”

This certainly will be a much younger Steelers defense in 2015 and one full of inexperienced players. Three of those players, defensive end Stephon Tuitt, linebacker Ryan Shazier and safety Shamarko Thomas, have all combined to play all of 860 regular season snaps so far during their careers. Those young guys, in addition to linebacker Cortez Allen and linebacker Jarvis Jones, really do need to step up in 2015 as the players behind them are even more inexperienced.

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