Should Colts Consider Bringing in Dick LeBeau for Defense?


Although earlier reports suggested that former Pittsburgh Steelers’ longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would be joining the Arizona Cardinals organization as either a senior defensive advisor or linebackers coach, that is now being reported as unlikely according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports:

Nov 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau looks on from the sidelines against the New Orleans Saints during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Saints won 35-32. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was originally thought that after the Steelers and Dick LeBeau agreed to mutually part ways after this season that he would reunite with a fellow former member of the Steelers’ coaching staff in Bruce Arians, presumably an old friend, who served as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator from 2007-11 and is now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

However, now it’s being reported that the 77-year old LeBeau and his wife in particular would like to remain close to their immediate family in Cincinnati, and that Arizona is too far away in proximity. It’s even being suggested that he could rejoin Ray Horton in Tennessee, who is currently their defensive coordinator, and served as LeBeau’s secondary coach from 2004-10 in Pittsburgh.

With Indianapolis only being an hour and 45 minute drive along I-74 from Cincinnati, why not bring in LeBeau for a similar role that he was expected to take with the Cardinals as a defensive advisor or linebackers coach for the Colts? 

It’s not an unprecedented move for the Colts either, as they previously hired Rob Chudzinski last offseason as a “Special Assistant to Chuck Pagano“, partly in order to help oversee and improve what was a middling offense under offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton in 2013. This season, whether Chudzinski played a direct role or not, the offense got significantly better.

No one’s reasonably calling for current Colts’ defensive coordinator Greg Manusky‘s job, whose defense played brilliantly against the Denver Broncos in the Divisional round only to lay an egg against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. However, LeBeau is one of the most highly regarded defensive minds that the game has ever seen. Sometimes, you have to make an exception and put coaching egos aside for the betterment of the team.

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In his year-end press conference on Friday, GM

Ryan Grigson

mentioned “keeping good people in this building”, as it related to retaining Rob Chudzinski as a member of his coaching staff.

Why not bring more in too?

It wouldn’t be the first time that the Colts tried to bring in a former member of the Steelers coaching staff to help both guide and lead their 3-4 defense, as Chuck Pagano initially tried to get then-Steelers’ linebackers coach, now recently promoted defensive coordinator Keith Butler to be his original defensive coordinator in the 2012 offseason before ultimately agreeing on Manusky.

During his 11-years of coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers as their defensive coordinator, LeBeau’s smashmouth defenses were largely Top 10 NFL units throughout his tenure. Coming from an embarrassing loss where Colts’ owner Jim Irsay said “the team had to get tougher“, why not bring in a defensive mind whose units have seemingly always fit that label with tremendous success: