Watch Tower: Recognizing Dom Capers… But for the Right Reasons?

The arrival of the Packers today not only marks the Green Bay Packer’s first visit to Hienz Field, but it also brings Dom Capers back to Pittsburgh.

Capers of course was Bill Cowher’s defensive coordinator during the 1992, 1993, and 1994 seasons, a time which saw the Steelers defense evolve from merely being very good to dominant.
Since then Capers has been around the NFL, including two failed stints as an NFL head coach, once in Carolina in the 1990’s and again in Houston this decade. He has also served in any number of assistant-level coaching positions.

The Post-Gazette is giving Capers’s a lot of coverage, and their article on Capers return is well worth the read. However, Steel Curtain Rising’s got two points to make:

  • It is ironic how the current fortunes of a team can impact coverage. For so long, the not-so-subtle tone of coverage of the Steelers defense was that it was LeBeau who was really the genius behind the Steelers defenses in the 1990’s. Now the papers seem to be leaning back toward giving Capers credit
  • The PG has an extensive graphic, discussing how the Steelers have done following Capers-Cowher’s decision to “install” the 3-4 in 1992

Excuse me?

Since when did 1992 mark the first year the Steelers began using the 3-4. I am not sure of the precise year, but the Steelers made the transition to being a 3-4 team in the early 1980’s. I believe that it was 1983 with the drafting of Gabe Rivera.

Since then they’ve used the 3-4 consistently, with the exception of some marginal dabbling by defensive coordinator Dave Brazil in 1990 and 1991.

Now, if they’re talking about the fire zone/zone blitz based defense that is a different subject. But if that’s the case, then they should call it that, as it is possible to run a 3-4 without running a fire zone.

This isn’t a big deal, but it is surprising to see this kind of mistake from the Post-Gazette.

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