Steelers Defensive Coordinator Talks Beating Patriots, Tomlin Involvement In Defense

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler took some out of his training camp schedule to sit down with The Starkey and Mueller Show.

The guys went in-depth with Butler about a topic that has plagued this team for years, how to beat the New England Patriots and what they’re doing about it, including a focus on man coverage.

“We’re emphasizing it more this year in training camp,” Butler said. “We can’t always play zone, especially against people like the Patriots. You look at the people that beat the Patriots in the past, a lot of them have played man-to-man, I think the last time we beat them… we were playing a lot of man-to-man coverage.”

Another aspect of the defense Butler talked about was Mike Tomlin’s involvement in deciding what they do, which he described by saying, “He’s very involved in our defense in terms of game plan and stuff like that.”

“We have a little meeting we call ‘the hole,’ there’s a little meeting room in the back of our facility that we meet in when we’re building game plans and stuff like that, and Mike is always in there, he’s always involved in that, he’s a big voice in that,” Butler said. “In fact, he has the last say in a lot of things that we do and he has suggestions on the field when we’re playing.”

With the news coming out that rookie Josh Dobbs will get the start at quarterback in the preseason opener, we asked Butler what he has seen from the Tennessee product so far in camp and if he’s up for the challenge.

“Well, he’s still learning,” Butler said. “He’s thrown us the ball a couple of times, but all of them have, including Ben. He’s still at the process of seeing the difference between NFL defenses and college defenses.”

There is one thing in particular Butler said he’d warn Dobbs against doing.

“I would caution him against a little bit more is tucking the ball and running as much as he is, that’s his instinct to do that. He’ll find that this game is a little bit faster than the college game is, so he’s got to be a little bit careful in terms of staying healthy, he don’t need to be running that ball a whole lot.”

Listen to the audio link above to hear more from Butler as he also talked about the importance of home field in the playoffs and what they’re doing to help their younger guys develop and get ready to play a bigger role on the defensive side of the ball.

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