Earlier this offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler spoke highly of second-year former undrafted free agent Terence Garvin, calling him “Big Safety” as a preference to his other nickname, “Little Linebacker”.
Butler talked about him as his new Stevenson Sylvester type of player, whom he trusts to play both inside and outside in his defense. Despite that, however, Garvin remained inside throughout the preseason, but he did play well throughout.
Garvin is a player who slowly began the collect some snaps on defense for himself here and there toward the end of his rookie season, in addition to his special teams duties. He has only continued to grow since then, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers find a way to get him on the field on occasion.
Here’s a look at some of his notable plays during the Steelers’ preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
Midway through the second quarter, with Garvin lined up as the weakside linebacker on the left, the Panthers ran off left tackle with the offensive line shifting that direction, away from Garvin. But he read the play well, weaved his way through, and found the ball carrier, tackling him after a gain of three yards. The only problem being that it was second and one.
On the next snap, this time on the right, the Panthers shifted their offensive line in the opposite direction, but once again, Garvin was able to flow to the ball after getting off a block, busting through the ball carrier and dropping him for a gain of three.
Late in the half, the Panthers were facing a third and 13 situation just outside the Steelers’ 40-yard line. Pittsburgh was in the nickel defense, and Garvin was hovering over the left defensive tackle, covering tight end Ed Dickson. The Steelers were able to pressure the quarterback, and his pass to Dickson was wide, but Garvin was in good position on the defense.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Garvin merely had to wait on Fozzy Whittaker to work through the hole before he popped him and put him on the ground. Defensive end Nick Williams did a nice job of squeezing the gap and basically funneling the back right into the playmaking linebackers after a short gain.
On the following play, third and seven, Garvin was among six Steelers blitzing and rushing the passer. Garvin went right up the middle between center and left guard, swam over the running back, and helped force the quarterback to deliver the ball early. The receiver couldn’t bring the pass in on the playing field and the Panthers were forced to punt.