The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Has Jon Bostic lived up to your expectations so far?
I think that most people believed, or at least has a pretty good idea, that Jon Bostic was going to open the season this year as a starting linebacker when they signed him in free agency, if not finish it. The latter part of that equation kind of depended on what they were able to come up with in the draft, but the likelihood of them acquiring another linebacker via other means was low at best.
Even though the Steelers ostensibly put him a competition throughout the offseason for the starting job with Tyler Matakevich, it has been Bostic’s job all season, though he has proven to be the ‘two-down’ backer so to speak, the one between himself and Vince Williams who comes off the field when the defense substitutes in a sixth defensive back.
Outside of a couple of unwise penalties, and perhaps a gaffe or two in coverage and here and there, I would estimate that Bostic has played well, registering 37 tackles, two and a half sacks, and three passes defensed. The three passes defensed matched the number that he had all of last season over 14 games and 14 starts, which was a career-high. His sack number is also a career-high.
Bostic played nearly a season-low 33 snaps in the team’s last game against the Cincinnati Bengals, which would be because the team spent a great deal of time with six defensive backs on the field—on that note, Cameron Sutton logged 22 snaps, and in fact has played 193 on the year.
Were it not for play-calling responsibilities, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers chose to leave Bostic on the field more than they do. I believe he has been one of the team’s best defenders so far this year, especially from a fundamentals standpoint.