The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the practice field Monday afternoon following a day off on Sunday. The team, coming off of a 32-25 preseason win against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, got some potential answers about positional battles while others are still very much in question for Mike Tomlin‘s group. One of the main concerns is not just the defensive play against the run, but the inside linebacker position and who will play alongside newcomer, Myles Jack. The two guys who currently share the #1 spot on the depth chart next to Jack are Devin Bush and Robert Spillane.
Tomlin and his staff clearly do not have their answer at the position as both players were rotating in and out with the first team next to Jack on Monday.
Steelers essentially rotating Bush and Spillane throughout this practice at ILB next to Jack. I don't know that either is the answer. Also running some more dime. That could be.
— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 15, 2022
If neither of them really wins the job, the Steelers should consider reaching out to the Chicago Bears about their asking price for the disgruntled linebacker, Roquan Smith who requested a trade last week. This would come with a lot of financial commitment, however, Smith seems to be unhappy with his contract and wants to receive an extension wherever he ends up.
Steelers Coaching Staff Is Definitely Undecided About Who Will Play Next To Jack
There should certainly be room for concern here as Bush looked very hesitant against the run on Saturday and Spillane was less than impressive against the pass. Rookie linebacker, Mark Robinson had a strip sack that led to the game-winning drive the other night, but up until that point, he wasn’t very good. And a rookie who doesn’t have a ton of experience at linebacker won’t jump either of the guys ahead of him because of one forced fumble.
The main question becomes if Bush and Spillane continue to be below average, do the Steelers look to trade for Smith or another guy that can gel with Jack in the middle? Marcus Allen has some experience playing in the position, but with a lingering ankle injury and the other two ahead of him, he is unlikely to be the answer either. The coaching staff is most likely rotating them for the obvious reason.
They have no clue who is going to win the job yet.
Bush’s fifth-year option was declined this past offseason and Spillane will also be a free agent after the 2022 season is over. There is a very strong chance that neither plays next to Jack in 2023 and the idea of going out and finding a more stable solution at the position sooner rather than later, should come as attractive to Steelers fans. The issue is, other than Smith, the market is not very favorable for teams in need of help at inside linebacker.
It is much more likely that Tomlin decides to stick with one of the two guys he has on the team now. The defense has a chance to be elite, but either Bush or Spillane could hinder the unit from reaching its full potential. Time will tell within the next few weeks and preseason games if the answer is on the current roster or if he currently does not wear the black and gold. The idea of working with Tomlin and Brian Flores would certainly come as attractive to players who aren’t currently part of the organization.
Is it cause for concern that there isn’t a clear answer at inside linebacker except for the newly-signed, Jack? Let us know what you think in the comments below!