Keep it simple, stupid. One of the biggest criticisms to come under Dick LeBeau, especially in his later years, was an overly complex playbook that didn’t allow younger players to assimilate and play fast.
It’s been a point of emphasis for Keith Butler to tweak the defense, allowing defenders to play faster and not overthink things. He was again asked about it during his press conference with the media yesterday.
“We do something every week that’s a little bit different but we try and keep it simple for the most part. They’re getting better, in my opinion.”
“It’d be crazy for me to give them a bunch of stuff they don’t know how to do. As a coach, you gotta figure out what they can do and what they can’t do. For us, it’s hey, let’s let them play fast and use their ability. I don’t want to be a guy who interjects himself into the game when they can handle themselves.”
The starting 11 rarely played as a group during training camp or the preseason, whether it was due to injuries to Mike Mitchell, Ryan Shazier, or the decision to start Will Allen over Shamarko Thomas. Butler pointed that out.
“They’re getting more cohesive because they’re playing together. I mean, the first game we played against the Patriots, we hadn’t been on the same field with each other for awhile in training camp. That was one of the first times. They’ve been together for a few weeks. They know everybody’s idiosyncrasies. They’re getting used to each other.”