Longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told his players he'll be back next year for his 10th season as the Steelers' defensive coordinator, The Associated Press reported Thursday. Publicly, LeBeau wouldn't be so presumptuous.
"Let's just say I really like Pittsburgh and I really like working for the Steelers," LeBeau said. "Coach Tomlin will tell you if he wants me back or not. It will be up to Mike."
It's hard to imagine Tomlin making a change, even though Pittsburgh's defense didn't present as many problems for opposing offenses as usual this season. We keep hearing the Steelers called the "No. 1 defense" in the NFL, but that's only in yards allowed. They're 10th in points allowed and 27th in turnovers. They blew fourth-quarter leads and finished in the bottom half of the league in sacks.
LeBeau did well overall, considering all the injuries and poor years from his veteran players, but this group needs more juice. It needs more talent and speed.
Coaching isn't the problem here, and Tomlin must know it. And LeBeau, who'll be 76 next season, still is one of the best at what he does.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.