The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Sean Davis should be considered for snaps in replacing Devin Bush.
Explanation: One name that we have barely even heard of this year, and which I’m betting many have forgotten, is Sean Davis, who between 2016 and 2018 logged 2667 defensive snaps for the Steelers. With Devin Bush done for the season, chances are there will be fewer linebacker snaps to go around, and Davis has been used in a dimebacker role previously.
While Cameron Sutton is the dime defender, and of course will continue to play in that role going forward, he is not and will never be mistaken for a linebacker, or even a quasi-linebacker, like a Budda Baker, or late-career Troy Polamalu.
Sean Davis, who is just biding his time on special teams despite being the most well-versed defender on the team in the Steelers’ defense, would make too much sense not to employ. Will Allen logged almost 400 snaps in 2013 in that role after Larry Foote’s injury in the opener, and remember, he started that year with the Cowboys for some games.
Robert Spillane will of course absorb the majority of the snaps Bush is leaving on the table. It’s possible we see some others fill in here and there as well. But Davis is a ready-made option who has four years of history running this defense and is capable of playing at a sufficient level to justify the assignment.
Davis’ best role is simply to focus on being a safety, as he is the first and pretty much only line of defense in the even that either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Terrell Edmunds go down. Putting him on the field in different packages does nobody any favors.
Sutton is the team’s best dime option for coverage. Spillane is the team’s best option for taking on Bush’s snaps otherwise. There is no need to make things overly complicated by introducing more and more bodies, at least until they see how everything shakes out.