Home > Steeler Articles > The Fox Dilemma – Why Isn’t This Guy Starting?

The Fox Dilemma – Why Isn’t This Guy Starting?

Now entering his 4th season with the Steelers, anyone that has kept on eye on LB Keyaron Fox when he’s been on the field in the past 3 years has to be asking himself at this point, “why isn’t this guy starting?” Well, that is actually a very good question, although maybe not such a good question if you know how Dick LeBeau runs his defense. Lebeau isn’t perfect, although some Steeler fans might disagree on that assessment, one of his biggest flaws is his loyalty to his vets. LB James Farrior, at age 35, is a noticeably slower, less effective LB at this point in his career. I appreciate all that Farrior has done for the Steelers, I’m a big fan, but it’s clear that it’s time for him to step aside and play the backup role at this point in his career. In 2009, Farrior played a pivotal role in losses to divisional rivals, the Bengals and Ravens. Both teams exploited Farrior’s weakness in coverage. The fact that he’s still penciled in as the starter says less about him earning the spot at this point and more about Lebeau being loyal to “his guys”. When Fox has been given playing time he has shined, he’s quick, a vicious hitter, great run stopper and is effective in pass coverage too, trumping both Farrior and recently re-signed LB Larry Foote (who was never quick but was a decent runstopper) in those categories. In other words, he should be starting next to LB Lawrence Timmons. Last year, Fox also had a huge pick 6 against Favre and the Vikings that was key in the Steelers winning that game. One argument against replacing Farrior with Fox is that Farrior is the team captain, he calls or relays all the plays, well, Fox is entering his 4th season with the team, he’s comfortable with the defense, another player can call the plays. For more info and analysis on Fox check out a recent article by Post Game Heroes, a GREAT site that I’m sure many of you are aware of. They’ve been talking about Fox for some time.


Random Thoughts

– Flozell Adams looked bad in pass protection against the Lions last Saturday. There was one embarrassing play in particular where Adams was spun completely around by a rushing Lions player. Luckily, Leftwich had gotten rid of the ball. I didn’t think the Steelers could find a worse RT than Willie Colon in pass protection but I might be wrong. Hopefully Adams is on “cruise control” right now and he starts to step it up when the regular season comes around.

– Mendenhall’s fumble on his second carry of the game against the Lions is indicative of a bigger problem, coaching. The way Mendenhall (still) carries the ball is inexcusable and needs to be corrected, is the coaching staff doing anything about it? They better.

– With some new faces in the starting lineup for the O-line against the Lions, the results were essentially the same as last year.

– Young CB’s Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis showed some promise against the Lions. Lewis was burnt on a couple plays but had a real nice play in the endzone, deflecting a potential TD pass. I was more impressed with Burnett, who showed a nice awareness for the ball and good closing speed. He seems to be a smart player, I like it.

– FA safety signing Will Allen showed some real nice speed out on the field. It’d be nice to see him get some legit playing time in the regular season if he continues to impress.

– I couldn’t believe that Vikings head coach Brad Childress actually challenged the spot of a ball after a Rams WR clearly crossed the first down marker in their first preseason game Saturday. What a douchebag. Why are challenges even allowed in the preseason? And why was this numbskull using it in this situation?

– I don’t really like the guy, but Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a character and that can only be a good thing for the NFL, which has been becoming sterile with more rules restricting everything from celebrations to uniforms to what coaches wear on the sidelines. The NFL needs more “character” coaches who aren’t afraid to say stupid crap in front of a camera.

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