I'm a noted Mike Tomlin "apologist," so this is hard for me to type: After the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade, the defense needs to be good. If it's not? It may be time to move on from the head coach.
The further away the Steelers get from Dick LeBeau, the worse off the defensive numbers get.
The Steelers defense is currently 28th in the league in scoring with 30.5 ppg allowed.
Here's where they've finished since 2013:
--2018: 16th w/ 22.5 ppg allowed.
--2017: 11th w/ 20.6 ppg allowed.
--2016: 10th w/ 20.6 ppg allowed.
--2015: 9th w/ 19.9 ppg allowed.
--2014: 21st w/ 23.4 ppg allowed.
--2013: 13th w/ 23.1 ppg allowed.
The defense, I thought, could win them a lot of games this year. So far, not so good.
That doesn’t mean that it can’t be, though. In fact, they should be.
If the Steelers defense sucks with all the studs that they have, then that’s a reflection on the defensive minded head coach, is it not?
I’d say so.
Think about what they have on the defensive line: Cam Heyward (1st round pick), Stephon Tuitt (2nd round pick), Javon Hargrave (3rd round pick), Tyson AluAlu (1st round pick).
Tuitt had two sacks on Sunday. Cam Heyward has been an All-Pro.
How about linebacker? T.J. Watt (1st round pick), Bud Dupree (1st round pick), Devin Bush (1st round pick), Mark Barron (1st round pick).
In the secondary, you’ve got Joe Haden (1st round pick), Minkah Fitzpatrick (1st round pick), Terrell Edmunds (1st round pick), Sean Davis (2nd round pick).
Including backups Tyson Alualu and Artie Burns, the Steelers defense has 10(!!!!) first round picks!
There are 8 first round picks that will be starting.
Let’s keep this short and to the point: If THIS defense struggles, that’s a huge indictment of Tomlin and Butler. If the Steelers defense doesn’t make huge strides and become a top-10 unit, then it’s a failure.
They’ve got the talent to be one of the best defenses in the league. If they’re not there by the end of the season, I’m firing Butler.
The Steelers need to have success with this unit. They should be able to win games with that defense.
You can argue that there’s not a defense MORE talented in the entire league.
Pressure's on, Mike.