Is it Finally Time for Keith Butler to Go?

The Steelers defense has been a mess for years. The offense, on the other hand, is always explosive and consistently puts points the boards. You can’t ask for more. But the defense consists of draft bust after draft bust. And sure you could blame that on General Manager Kevin Colbert, but it isn’t a lack of talent holding these players back; it’s due to poor development. Artie Burns, Sean Davis, Bud Dupree are the big names on the list. The three are immensely talented, but have seen little to no improvement over the years. That’s when the blame turns to Steelers Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler.

The Steelers have become infamous for their poor tackling and constant communication miscues. But, just a year ago, at this time, it looked like the defense was coming together. But it was not because of the success of Butler. It was due to the work of one man. Ryan Shazier. He was a top 3 Inside Linebacker, and at one point, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He was the glue that held the team together, the keystone, if you will. He was in charge of making sure everyone was in the right spot and made adjustments for the defense. And sure, once he went down, one would expect the defense to lose some steam. But no one expected the complete and utter breakdown the Pittsburgh defense, which has not improved over the offseason, has faced, even with the addition first-round pick Terrell Edmunds.

It is time to blame Keith Butler. Overreacting is detrimental to the long-term success of a franchise, but this take is no longer an overreaction. Butler, whose primary job is COORDINATING the defense, leads a team that consists of the worst communication of any team in the NFL. The 3-4 scheme is not to blame, and Mike Tomlin‘s systems aren’t either. It’s quite unlikely the Steelers let go of Butler mid-season, but if these poor performances continue, it is not out of the picture.

If the Steelers do replace Butler this year, recently added, in-house candidates like Karl Dunbar and Tom Bradley could take over (temporarily or full-time). It is near impossible the Steelers bring in someone not already part of the organization half-way through the season, but let’s not rule anything out just yet.

 

 

Or Keith Butler can pull this defense back together, and problem solved.

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