The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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 will the Steelers replace Devin Bush?
When you lose a starting player on the defensive side of the ball in particular, especially when he is an every-down player, unless it’s in the secondary, it’s highly likely that the process of filling is shoes is going to be filled by more than one person. I expect it to be no different for the Steelers in making changes adapting to the loss of Devin Bush, who sustained a season-ending ACL tear yesterday.
As tough as the loss is, the team has no choice but to move on. After all, they are 5-0 and have the best record in the AFC. In fact, with the Seattle Seahawks on their bye week, they have the best record in the entire NFL, tied with Seattle and the Tennessee Titans, all of them 5-0, as the Green Bay Packers just lost and are now 4-1.
So how do they take up Bush’s snaps? It will involve four people, potentially: Robert Spillane, Ulysees Gilbert III, Marcus Allen, and Cameron Sutton. Yesterday, Spillane was his immediate replacement, but a week of planning can change things.
Gilbert was a healthy scratch. He won’t be anymore, and he has the sideline-to-sideline speed that the Steelers lose with Bush out, so that’s his chance to step in. We’ll see if they find a role for Allen as a quasi-dime linebacker, but they will also likely increase their true dime usage, meaning more snaps for Sutton, who snagged his first interception of the year yesterday off of Baker Mayfield.