Thursday, May 20, 2004

Finally, some youthful DBs
The new - old D-coordinator of the Steelers, Dick Lebeau has opted for youth over experience in the defensive backfield and it's been a long time coming. Jerry Dipaola writes that if the season started today, Chris Hope and Troy Polamalu would be the starting safeties and Deshea Townsend and Chad Scott would start on the corners. Second year player Ike Taylor and rookie Ricardo Colclough would also see a lot of playing time.

I suspect that three or four games into the season Scott will lose his starting job (strictly due to incompetence -- no politics here) and we'll get a glimpse of what a real defensive backfield looks like -- and it'll be a welcome change. Ever since the Bengals threw for over 400 yards in their 2001 overtime win against the Steelers, teams have been exploiting the DBs as slow and lacking coverage skills -- which time and again proved to be the case.

The infusion of youth also includes a lot more speed, better coverage skills while still maintaining the ability to stop the run. And given that the DeWayne Washington wasn't the best tackler on the field, it doesn't take much to improve there either.

Steelers fans have been clamoring for the last two seasons to see some youthful changes made in the back, and this will be the season it happens. I think it's a good move and one that will pay dividends as the season progresses and the games become more important.