One of the reasons I'm anxious to see the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend is because it's a chance to face the defense the Chiefs are trying to be. Led by Dick LeBeau, the Steelers defense is near the tops in the league year after year.
LeBeau is largely considered one of the greatest 3-4 defensive minds in the NFL. He created the zone blitz and has attracted the admiration of players and coaches across the league.
"I'm gonna tell you right now, guys," former Chief Bill Maas told 610 Sports yesterday. "The best I've ever seen coaching up a 3-4 -- and I've been in a 3-4, Marty was really good at it, Bill Cowher was good at it -- but the best guy is in Pittsburgh. Hands down. He is unbelievable."
The Steelers scheme has allowed no name players like James Harrison to rise among the elite in the league. Maas credits LeBeau for being the brains behind it all.
"He will look at your scheme and find multiple ways to break you down. If the offensive line, the backs and the tight ends aren't all in check and on the same page Sunday, it's going to be a long afternoon for [the Chiefs]."
He suggests the Chiefs will utilize a heavy dose of max protect packages in order to fight off the blitz.
"What I think you'er going to see this week is maximum protection fronts," he said, "which always eliminates the blitz. If you see maximum protection with two tight ends, normally you 'Omaha, Omaha' on the defensive side, blitz is off and you check back into your regular stuff."
Maas also points to the running game as a critical part of the Chiefs success. If the Chiefs can't run, they can't win.
Good. It's not like the Steelers are the No. 1 rush defense or anything.