With Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Devin Bush now out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, backup inside linebacker Robert Spillane will be the one who will predominantly replace him in the defense staring Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. While we’ve known that will be the case since not long after last Sunday’s game, we haven’t known for sure if Spillane will continue to wear the defssuive communication with the green dot on it like he did after replacing Bush after he was injured last weekend.
During his weekly television show Saturday night, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked pointblank if Spillane will continue wearing the commination helmet with the green dot on it against the Titans on Sunday.
“Without question,” Tomlin told show host Bob Pompeani. “And I can’t stress that enough. We really have no hesitation in regards to Robert or his ability to meet the demands of the job, his ability to communicate.”
While Tomlin has no issue with Spillane wearing the green dot moving forward and essentially being the quarterback of the defense starting Sunday in Nashville against the Titans, he did admit on Saturday that he does have one primary concern when it comes to the former undrafted free agent linebacker out of Western Michigan.
“My chief concern regarding Robert is his lack of exposure to a ridiculous number of snaps and maybe what happens to him as fatigue sets in and things of that nature,” Tomlin told Pompeani. “That’s really the only thing that I’m going to really keep an eye on, his game as fatigues sets in or his snap count gets high because that’s just unchartered waters for he and for I.”
That’s a fair enough concern on Tomlin’s part when it comes to Spillane and it coincides with the Steelers head coach saying on Tuesday that Bush’s replacement isn’t likely to play every defensive snap on Sunday against the Titans. So, who will wear the green dot helmet whenever Spillane is off the field on Sunday against the Titans? We’ll have to wait and see.
Spillane most definitely will be under the collective microscopes of many on Sunday against the Titans and with very good reason. If he plays well against the Titans, odds are good the Steelers will stand pat with him the remainder of the season. If he doesn’t play well on Sunday, perhaps the Steelers will explore bringing in a cheap outsider with experience at playing inside and quarterbacking a defense. In the meantime, however, Tomlin sounded very confident in Spillane on Saturday.
“I’m excited about watching Robert Spillane stand up and make an adage that we live by a true one, and that’s the standard is the standard,” Tomlin told Pompeani. “He is more than prepared. The guys have a great deal of confidence in him. I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised when he plays and plays well.”