Jon Bostic is hoping to secure a long-term position for himself with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he knows that he is going to have to prove himself along every step of the way. He was signed as a stop-gap starter this offseason, even though the team looked to draft a starter. He hopes to prove with his play that their search for a starter is already over.
Monday’s game wasn’t the worst piece of evidence toward that end in a performance that included a sack, a pass breakup against a vertical route, and a pass deflection that led to an interception, along with some solid play against the run.
In the first quarter, he showed good sideline ability in getting outside the numbers to clean up a screen pass to the offensive right side. While the receiver had to cut his route inside anyway, Bostic shows some burst to get to the spot.
It was a bit later in the quarter that he drew a coverage assignment against O.J. Howard. While the tight end was able to win off the line, Bostic was able to make up ground quickly to put himself in position to defend the play, playing the man and timing his jump to for an incompletion as Howard went up for the ball.
The strength of his game based on his Colts tape was his run defense, and he has been solid in that area so far this season. He helped the Buccaneers get off to a slow start to one drive in the second quarter by registering a tackle for loss. The back threatened to spin away from him, but he held on and brought him down.
In the middle of the second quarter, he blitzed off the left edge, unblocked and unimpeded. Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to get the ball out, but Bostic was able to get in the way, the ball coming off of his helmet. The ball popped into the air and Mike Hilton was able to pick it off.
Not every blitz was as successful, admittedly. He had a free shot up the middle in the third quarter, but Fitzpatrick was able to sidestep him and scramble for four yards.
But he did get him a couple of plays later. This time rushing from the right side, he took on the left guard, stacking and shedding the lineman to get inside, proceeding to make a nice athletic play to wrap up the quarterback and bring him down for a loss of six yards.