LeBeau on the loose

Dale Lolley suspected it all along, but then a certain All-Pro strong safety drove it home: former head coach Bill Cowher held defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau back. And now that conservative approach is out the window in a big way.

The interview seemed innocuous enough in typical Troy Polamalu fashion.

Polamalu, who talks softly but carries a big stick on the field, isn't one to cause a controversy with something he says. In fact, he's known for doing anything but that.

But when asked this week whether or not he felt Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was being given more freedom this season than in the past under Bill Cowher, Polamalu came out and said what many have thought for a while now.

"I think he has more control (over the defense)," Polamalu said of LeBeau. "I don't think they have any reigns on coach LeBeau that I know of. We are a lot more active. We're not as conservative, we're kind of initiating what the offense needs to do, not just reacting to what they do."

And there it was. Polamalu didn't say it and he wouldn't have said it if pressed, but he obviously felt that Cowher tended to get a little conservative at times on defense.

New head coach Mike Tomlin, a proponent of the cover-2 defense, was supposed to be the more conservative one. But it appears Tomlin is willing to allow LeBeau the freedom that Cowher wouldn't.

"I think he (Tomlin) has so much respect for coach LeBeau, rightly so, that he just said, ‘Hey, do what you do best,"' Polamalu said.

For Tomlin, it was a matter of allowing the Steelers to do what they are best suited to accomplish.

"First and foremost, we have players here that have been acquired to fit that scheme and what they do, they do well," Tomlin said. "That's coaching to me. Put your guys in a position to do well. It's no question that we have people that have continuity with the scheme. From a staff standpoint, I have known some of these guys for quite some time. I have a lot of knowledge on and a lot of respect for Coach (Dick) LeBeau."

Certainly Cowher wasn't always overly conservative on defense. In fact, when he first became head coach of the Steelers in 1992, he was considered a risk taker and somebody who used a defense that constantly attacked.

But let's be honest, we all become a little more conservative as we age. And in 15 seasons with the Steelers, there were plenty of times when the players felt they were being reigned in on defense. Remember Joey Porter complaining that the coaching staff had handcuffs on the defense?

Maybe when he gets burned a time or two with the aggressive style of play Tomlin will pull things back a bit. Maybe he won't.

But for now, we're just enjoying a look into the mind of Dick LeBeau.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\nThe interview seemed innocuous enough in typical Troy Polamalu\r\nfashion.\r\n

\r\nPolamalu, who talks softly but carries a big stick on the field,\r\nisn't one to cause a\r\ncontroversy with something he says. In fact, he's known for doing\r\nanything but that.\r\n

\r\nBut when asked this week whether or not he felt Pittsburgh Steelers\r\ndefensive coordinator\r\nDick LeBeau was being given more freedom this season than in the past\r\nunder Bill Cowher,\r\nPolamalu came out and said what many have thought for a while now.\r\n

\r\n\"I think he has more control (over the defense),\" Polamalu said of\r\nLeBeau. \"I don't think\r\nthey have any reigns on coach LeBeau that I know of. We are a lot\r\nmore active. We're not\r\nas conservative, we're kind of initiating what the offense needs to\r\ndo, not just reacting to\r\nwhat they do.\"\r\n

\r\nAnd there it was. Polamalu didn't say it and he wouldn't have said it\r\nif pressed, but he\r\nobviously felt that Cowher tended to get a little conservative at\r\ntimes on defense.\r\n

\r\nNew head coach Mike Tomlin, a proponent of the cover-2 defense, was\r\nsupposed to be\r\nthe more conservative one. But it appears Tomlin is willing to allow\r\nLeBeau the freedom\r\nthat Cowher wouldn't.\r\n

\r\n\"I think he (Tomlin) has so much respect for coach LeBeau, rightly\r\nso, that he just said,\r\n‘Hey, do what you do best,\"' Polamalu said.\r\n

\r\nFor Tomlin, it was a matter of allowing the Steelers to do what they\r\nare best suited to\r\naccomplish.\r\n

\r\n\"First and foremost, we have players here that have been acquired to\r\nfit that scheme and\r\nwhat they do, they do well,\" Tomlin said. \"That's coaching to me. Put\r\nyour guys in a\r\nposition to do well. It's no question that we have people that have\r\ncontinuity with the\r\nscheme. From a staff standpoint, I have known some of these guys for\r\nquite some time. I\r\nhave a lot of knowledge on and a lot of respect for Coach (Dick)\r\nLeBeau.\"\r\n

\r\nCertainly Cowher wasn't always overly conservative on defense. In\r\nfact, when he first\r\nbecame head coach of the Steelers in 1992, he was considered a risk\r\ntaker and somebody\r\nwho used a defense that constantly attacked.\r\n

\r\nBut let's be honest, we all become a little more conservative as we\r\nage. And in 15 seasons\r\nwith the Steelers, there were plenty of times when the players felt\r\nthey were being reigned\r\nin on defense. Remember Joey Porter complaining that the coaching\r\nstaff had handcuffs on\r\nthe defense?\r\n

\r\nMaybe when he gets burned a time or two with the aggressive style of\r\nplay Tomlin will pull\r\nthings back a bit. Maybe he won't.\r\n

\r\nBut for now, we're just enjoying a look into the mind of Dick LeBeau.\r\n

\r\nDale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.","mobileBody":" The interview seemed innocuous enough in typical Troy Polamalu fashion.

Polamalu, who talks softly but carries a big stick on the field, isn't one to cause a controversy with something he says. In fact, he's known for doing anything but that.

But when asked this week whether or not he felt Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was being given more freedom this season than in the past under Bill Cowher, Polamalu came out and said what many have thought for a while now.

\"I think he has more control (over the defense),\" Polamalu said of LeBeau. \"I don't think they have any reigns on coach LeBeau that I know of. We are a lot more active. We're not as conservative, we're kind of initiating what the offense needs to do, not just reacting to what they do.\"

And there it was. Polamalu didn't say it and he wouldn't have said it if pressed, but he obviously felt that Cowher tended to get a little conservative at times on defense.

New head coach Mike Tomlin, a proponent of the cover-2 defense, was supposed to be the more conservative one. But it appears Tomlin is willing to allow LeBeau the freedom that Cowher wouldn't.

\"I think he (Tomlin) has so much respect for coach LeBeau, rightly so, that he just said, ‘Hey, do what you do best,\"' Polamalu said.

For Tomlin, it was a matter of allowing the Steelers to do what they are best suited to accomplish.

\"First and foremost, we have players here that have been acquired to fit that scheme and what they do, they do well,\" Tomlin said. \"That's coaching to me. Put your guys in a position to do well. It's no question that we have people that have continuity with the scheme. From a staff standpoint, I have known some of these guys for quite some time. I have a lot of knowledge on and a lot of respect for Coach (Dick) LeBeau.\"

Certainly Cowher wasn't always overly conservative on defense. In fact, when he first became head coach of the Steelers in 1992, he was considered a risk taker and somebody who used a defense that constantly attacked.

But let's be honest, we all become a little more conservative as we age. And in 15 seasons with the Steelers, there were plenty of times when the players felt they were being reigned in on defense. Remember Joey Porter complaining that the coaching staff had handcuffs on the defense?

Maybe when he gets burned a time or two with the aggressive style of play Tomlin will pull things back a bit. Maybe he won't.

But for now, we're just enjoying a look into the mind of Dick LeBeau.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.","skipOnMobile":false,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-09-21T05:53:00","authorOverride":"Dale Lolley","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:472655]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:472655]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"575","name":"USC"},{"id":"10012","name":"USC - Football"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"}],"nodes":["2982004","99","736"],"isActive":true,"inActiveAndMemberHasPublishRights":false,"createdOn":"2007-09-21T06:17:14.73","createdById":"166721","modifiedOn":"2014-07-06T00:20:32.593","modifiedBy":"51458","imgs":[],"viewStats":[],"hasVideo":false,"brandUnsafe":false,"breakingNews":false},"editorsChoice":{"siteUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1704973-energy-bringers-badasses","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1701783-a-day-in-the-life?preview=true","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1644408-long-may-heath-run","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1626251-ups-and-downs-shazier-playcaller","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1614465-qa-peezy-deebo"],"networkUrls":["http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1711260-scout-s-top-5-hs-recruit-highlights-week-6","http://www.scout.com/story/1710624-odell-beckham-jr-sideline-tantrum-backfires","http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1711551-best-coaching-fit-lsu","http://www.scout.com/nfl/story/1710816-watch-nfl-top-plays-of-week-3"],"topRibbonWidgets":[],"carouselStoryUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1712144-steelers-turn-hubbard","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711853-buzz-about-new-steelers-starters","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711542-all-22-review-steelers-eagles","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711135-craig-wolfleys-view-sideline","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1710728-notebook-sportswriter"],"storyStreamUrls":[],"storyStreamBlacklistUrls":[],"videoStories":[{"type":"StorySummary","containerType":"StorySummary","id":"1712144","siteId":"68","isPublicSite":true,"subdomain":"pit","canonicalUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1712144-steelers-turn-to-hubbard","shortUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1712144-steelers-turn-to-hubbard","siteName":"Steel City Insider","forumName":"","friendlySubdomain":"Pittsburgh","title":"Steelers Turn To Hubbard","subtitle":"","seotitle":"Yet another injury thins offensive line","caption":"","deck":"Practice injury to B.J. 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