Armchair GM

The Steelers Need to FIRE Keith Butler and They Need to Do It, NOW!!!

September 23, 2019
7 minutes read
The Steelers Need to FIRE Keith Butler and They Need to Do It, NOW!!!

Keith Butler needs to go. This needs to happen and should happen sooner than later. If they fire Keith Butler, now, it will give the team some time to evaluate whether Teryl Austin is the long term Defensive Coordinator answer or if he’s just an interim solution. One thing is for sure, he couldn’t do a worse job.

The truth is Butler should’ve been fired in the off season. He may be a great position coach but he is totally incompetent in all phases of the Defensive Coordinator job. The Steelers have amassed a great group of young D talent. That means nothing if the person who is supposed to be leading them doesn’t know what he’s doing. This last outing against the 49ers just made this clearer than ever.

I know most of you don’t need reasons to get rid of everybody’s least favorite Defensive Coordinator but here’s a partial list:

  1. Living in the Past – Butler wasted the first two years of his tenure trying to revive the Cover 2 Zone Under. This scheme calls for the Defense to get all their pressure from the three down linemen with intermittent help from one linebacker. First of all the Cover 2 Zone Under is one step removed from the ‘Prevent Defense’ (which only prevents you from winning). It was already outdated by the time it’s creator, Tony Dungy’ retired from coaching. Tom Brady and other NFL QBs feasted on this practically obsolete defensive scheme. The C2-ZU also calls for the virtual elimination of blitzing which has been a hallmark of the Steelers since the days of Chuck Noll, Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.
  2. His Game Preparation is Terrible – I don’t know what Butler has the team looking at during the week but it can’t be whatever the opposition is planning to do. During most of his tenure the team has been disorganized. What we’ve been presented with week after week under Butler is a team that looks confused and in need of help from the coaching staff. Help, that never comes.
  3. The Defense Has No Identity – This is in sharp contrast to the Dick LeBeau ‘Blitzburgh’ era, when the toughness of the Steeler D was legendary. The Defense has no identity because Butler doesn’t know what he’s doing. He has no clear long term strategy. He has no clear short term strategy. He just tries different things from play to play and one game to the next, so he can’t tell or show them who they should be.
  4. He Has No Plan ‘B’ and Barely Has a Plan ‘A’ – This has been obvious for quite some time. It was obvious when he made Chris Hogan look like the second coming of Jerry Rice as the Patriots Offense destroyed the Steelers Defense in the 2017 AFC Championship. It was obvious in 2018, when for some idiotic reason he had a Linebacker, L.J. Fort, trying to cover Keenan Allen, one of the Chargers top receivers. Tomlin’s and Butler’s attempts to explain away why scheme changes weren’t made during these disasters were pathetic. The problem is obvious. Butler has no Plan ‘B’ because he has no Plan ‘A’.
  5. He Doesn’t Seem to Understand the Fundamentals of Football Coaching – Every football coach from Pop Warner on up understands what ‘gap integrity’ is. It’s lining up your Linebackers and Secondary to fill the gaps between the D-Linemen. This is a fundamental of ALL defensive football coaching. This should be automatic. When the LBs aren’t dropping back in coverage or blitzing they should know where they should be to stop the run. Under Dick LeBeau the team excelled at this which allowed them to be dominant run stoppers. As evidenced week after week the Steelers are constantly out of position allowing teams to break off huge runs.
  6. Under Butler the Steelers Defensive Fundamentals Have Gone to Shite – Ever since Keith Butler took over the Steelers seem to be unable to tackle. I’ve been told that’s really important for defensive football playing. If your tackling is a problem the solution is simple. You keep ALL of the defensive players after practice working on this one skill until the problem goes away. Again, this is football coaching 101.
  7. The Steelers ‘D’ Can’t Get a Stop to Save Their Lives – Here we save the WORST for last. Getting 4th quarter stops has been a hallmark of the Steelers D going back to the Super Bowl days of the 70s. All of that ended as soon as Butler took over. Butler has been unable to instill any kind of spirit in this team and his play calling always falls short when the team needs him the most. Butler can’t get key defensive stops in ANY quarter.

I know there’s some things I missed but I find this exhausting. Butler must’ve thought this defensive coordinating thing looked easy when he was holding the clipboard for Coach LeBeau. Well, it’s not and Butler has no reason pretending to be an NFL D.C.

It is time to GET RID OF HIM.



Jeffrey Burton

122 posts


  1. Mike

    While you’re at it, fire Tomlin! This poor excuse for a coach, is outcoached each & every week.

  2. Dan

    While , I agree with you about Butler , I do disagree with some points! I feel he should’ve been replaced last year and now more then ever, but let’s not forget Tomlin is the head coach and supposedly was a great Dbacks coach, so this falls under his watch.Now, I’m not gonna pretend Butler with all his experience doesn’t know football, I am sure he does, but his failures to establish an ID with this defense is bad!! What are they known for? What characteristic?How often do they take away the opponents best threat, especially TE’s!!They never make solid adjustments and often get caught in bad matchups and don’t check out of them!I also feel they don’t utilize talent nor build quality number twos to provide solid rotations like all good defenses do.Scheme is schem, they all work with proper coaching and checks to combat surprises!But out Nickel is predictable personell wise and the pressure will be coming from a DB off edge!!Teams runon our Nicklel and we don’t change personel.Why can’t we go with Down Three Dlinemen and One OLB on the line as the 4 th rusher! Our Dline of Tuitt, Haywood,And Hargrove are good pass rushers and stout vs Run and rotate Dupree and Watts to be the 4 th rusher, instead of the 2 Dl and 2Olb that invites the run!!My biggest gripe though is hearing about constant communication breakdown!!!I coach in HS for past 15 years and haven’t had as many communication problems as these guys!! Time for change is ….