In the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night win over the Kansas City Chiefs, it was hard not notice the play of linebacker Vince Williams as the former sixth-round draft pick was around the football all game on his way to lighting up the games box score with 15 total defensive tackles of which 13 were of the solo variety.
While it was fun to watch Williams post career-high numbers Sunday night at Heinz Field, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday he was impressed with something else that he did against the Chiefs that never shows up in a box score or game recap.
“His stats speak for themselves. He was highly productive and very active, but you can’t underscore the importance of communication and his role in it,” Tomlin said of Williams, who started Sunday night against the Chiefs in place of an injured Ryan Shazier. “Being the hub of communication, or the defensive quarterback, if you will, I thought he did an excellent job of communicating and getting guys in correct calls and making necessary adjustments at the line of scrimmage and so forth. The ways that your challenged when facing a veteran quarterback like Alex Smith, I thought that he did an exceptional job in those areas.”
While Williams has had to start in the past, Sunday night was his first official one since Week 13 of the 2014 season. While asked to platoon quite a bit last season with former Steelers linebacker Sean Spence When Shazier was sidelined with injuries, Williams didn’t share time with anyone Sunday night as he played 96% of the total defensive snaps against the Chiefs in addition to 28% of all special teams snaps.
Williams being able to quarterback the defense isn’t something new to him but the fact that he did it the entire game against the Chiefs as part of a big win certainly looks great on his resume.
As of Tuesday, it’s still unknown as to whether or not Shazier will be back for the team’s Sunday home game against the New York Jets. Should his knee injury keep him sidelined a second consecutive week, Williams figures to start in his place once again.