Steelers News

Mike Tomlin Comfortable With Playing ILB L.J. Fort If Need Arises

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter Week 7 of their 2017 regular season with two inside linebackers perhaps questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals as starter Vince Williams and his backup Tyler Matakevich are both currently dealing with injuries suffered during the teams Week 6 Sunday road win over the Kansas City Chiefs. With both players currently hurt, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his Tuesday press conference if he’s comfortable with the depth he has at the inside linebacker position and specifically when it comes to L.J. Fort.

“I am comfortable,” Tomlin said of Fort. “Fort is one of those unique guys that’s third on the depth chart, he’s been here for a number of years. So, I’m comfortable with not only his ability, but his exposure and knowledge as well.”

Being as Fort is probably best-suited to play the mack inside linebacker position and because Williams and Matakevich are both probably best-suited to play the buck position, Tomlin was asked Tuesday if it’s a big difference for a player to switch from one side to the other.

“It is not, no,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin was then asked if outside linebacker Arthur Moats could potentially help at the inside linebacker position should the need arise on Sunday against the Bengals.

“If need be, but I doubt that that would be an issue,” Tomlin said. “Again, both guys are leaking, talking about Vince [Williams] and Red [Matakevich], but both guys have a potential for making it [playing Sunday]. It would take both guys not making it before we got into those type scenarios.”

Moats would only be in consideration because of he played inside with the Buffalo Bills several years ago. In short, don’t expect that to happen on Sunday as Moats hasn’t played the position in several years.

As of Tuesday, the Steelers no longer have the luxury of re-signing veteran inside linebacker Steven Johnson as he has now signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Steelers currently have rookie inside linebacker Keith Kelsey on their practice squad and if Williams and Matakevich are both not healthy enough to play come Saturday, the team might consider signing him to their 53-man roster.

Additionally, the Steelers did sign safety Jordan Dangerfield to their practice squad on Monday and being as he can play special teams as well as in the box, he might be the better choice when it comes to a Saturday promotion from the 10-man unit.

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