The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Who gets the green dot on his helmet to set the defense this year?
This is a question that I have been wondering since the Steelers were connected with Jon Bostic, a sixth-year inside linebacker who has experience being the signal-caller on the defensive side of the football. He yielded those duties in his one season with the Colts. The question is, will he do it in Pittsburgh?
Traditionally, the green dot, which signifies the helmet with the radio connected to the sideline to receive the plays, has been worn by the buck linebacker in the Steelers’ defense. In recent times, that duty has fallen to the likes of James Farrior and Larry Foote. Lawrence Timmons gave it a whirl, but it was not his strong suit, and those duties were transferred to Ryan Shazier.
Even as a rookie, however, Vince Williams spent some time with the green dot after Foote was lost for the season in the opener. It’s something that he has done in the preseason and practiced with regularity, and is something that he wants to do.
But Shazier also wanted to do it, and he was allowed to retain the signal-calling duties on the defense last season. Given that he won’t play this season, the question becomes who will be wearing the dot come September.
Let me just say before continuing on that it’s a good problem to have to have multiple options. Whoever is not getting the plays can still be an asset in helping to set the defense. You need more than one person to work on that task, not just the one who gets the call.
Williams is obviously far more experienced with the Steelers’ defense. In many ways, it would make sense to give the job to him. But at the same time, chances are pretty good that he will only see the field about 85-90 percent of the time this year if they use an expanded dime package. That would strengthen Bostic’s case. There is obviously a whole offseason to sort this question out, but it’s one I’ve already been pondering myself.