James Harrison backs Dick LeBeau: 'It's on the players'

The Pittsburgh Steelers' defense entered the season billed as one that would recapture its dominant form after several years of being old and slow.

However, Dick LeBeau's unit has been gashed recently and some former members of the Black and Gold fraternity have called the defense "soft."

The finger pointing in the Steel City has turned on the legendary coordinator, citing him as part of the problem. However, James Harrison, just three weeks returned, says those blames are flat wrong.

"I hear coach LeBeau, a lot of people say he's too old," Harrison said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That's bull. The defense works. Players have to play the defense. Period. It's on the players."

LeBeau knows more about defensive football than anyone standing on an NFL sideline, let alone in the stands. Harrison believes the struggles simply boil down to players not making plays.

"Let's be plain and honest, let's cut out all the bull -- it's about you dominating your man, period," he said. "That's all there is to it. That is what Aaron Smith did. That's what Casey Hampton did. That's what they did. They dominated."

The Steelers' defense has been one of the most disappointing units in the NFL. It's middling in just about every category, can't get consistent pressure on the quarterback and had a plethora of coverage busts and tackling errors. It's a defense that has allowed 10 passing plays of 30 yards or longer and six runs of 20 yards or longer in six games.

The finger of blame in Pittsburgh is often cast on offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Now LeBeau is seeing digits pointed his way. If the struggles continue, coach Mike Tomlin will feel that cushy, stable Pittsburgh seat start to heat up.

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