The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
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: How hard should the Steelers look at investing in the inside linebacker position following the 2020 season?
The Steelers made sure to go get their man at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft, trading second- and third-round picks in addition to their own first-round pick to move up and draft Devin Bush, 10th overall, out of Michigan. Though he came up short of making the Pro Bowl, he was an instant impact rookie with over 100 tackles, six takeaways, and a touchdown scored.
But who else do they have? Vince Williams, of course, but the team has shown based on his usage that, by and large, use view him as a two-down linebacker. He will also be 31 by the end of this season, and probably won’t be getting faster with time.
Behind the starters? Ulysees Gilbert and Robert Spillane. I like qualities of both, particularly Gilbert’s athleticism, but we don’t know much about either one of them. Of course, this question will be much easier to answer after the year is played out and we see what kind of contributions they may be able to make.
Another option the Steelers could pursue is using the dimebacker role, something that they have done extensively before, back in 2013. That was Williams’ rookie season and he was forced into the starting lineup because of Larry Foote’s injury in the opener.