Dick LeBeau has been the Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator since 2004, and has been in the NFL since he was a cornerback for the Detroit Lions from 1959-1972. Dick LeBeau runs the 3-4 defense and he has maintained a very good defense with the Steelers during his time there. The defense helped the Steelers win Superbowls in 2005 and 2008, and another Super Bowl appearance in 2010 that ended in a loss to the Packers. The defense has gotten a little older and regressed recently and that could be part of the reason he is not returning to the team next season. Ian Rapoport reported that LeBeau has loyalty to older players like Ike Taylor & Troy Polamalu who are unlikely to be back with the team. The resignation apparently caught the Steelers by surprise. LeBeau was on year-to-year contracts, and they expected him to return for another season, but he felt it was time to move on.
Would the Washington Redskins be interested in a 77 year old coach who is arguably the best 3-4 mind available? More importantly would LeBeau want to come to Washington to likely end his coaching career. There are multiple reports that LeBeau could end up working for his friend Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals. Current Cardinals DC Todd Bowles has interviewed for multiple head coaching positions around the league. Rex Ryan was reported to be the first head coach hire this year, which will likely lead to more teams hiring soon.
Ian Rapoport also mentioned the Tennessee Titans, with former Steelers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt at head coach. But the Titans have Ray Horton currently at DC and he is not expected to leave. A job with the Titans would likely be an Assistant Head Coach/Senior Defensive Assistant Coach type of role. LeBeau is likely going to a place that has coaches he knows and is comfortable working with. Would he take a similar position with the Redskins?
The Redskins have already conducted several interviews for their open DC job. San Diego Chargers LB coach Joe Barry was interviewed Monday and Tuesday, San Francisco 49ers DB coach Ed Donatell was interviewed on Wednesday, and former Houston Texans DC Wade Phillips was interviewed on Thursday. Current San Francisco 49ers Tight Ends coach Eric Mangini is scheduled to interview for the position on Monday. The Redskins reportedly still have other candidates they would like to interview, and there are still 6 teams in the playoffs that have coaches who could be on their list.
One candidate that the team was not permitted to interview was Buffalo Bills DC Jim Schwartz. With Rex Ryan, who traditionally runs a 3-4, getting the position there was speculation he could be replaced. Ryan is looking to bring his DC Dennis Thurman with him from the Jets, but he has reportedly told Schwartz he wants him to stay as DC.
Should the Redskins try for Dick LeBeau, or is it the wrong move for the franchise?
Dick LeBeau's coaching history:
1973-1975 Philadelphia Eagles (Special teams coach)
1976-1979 Green Bay Packers (defensive backfield coach)
1980-1983 Cincinnati Bengals (defensive backfield coach)
1984-1991 Cincinnati Bengals (defensive coordinator)
1992-1994 Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive backfield coach)
1995-1996 Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive coordinator)
1997-2000 Cincinnati Bengals (defensive coordinator and assistant head coach)
2000-2002 Cincinnati Bengals (head coach)
2003 Buffalo Bills (assistant head coach)
2004-2014 Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive coordinator)