The Pittsburgh Steelers acted promptly after losing Devin Bush for the remainder of the season to address the sudden lack of depth that they found they had at the inside linebacker position in the wake of his injury. They made a trade with the New York Jets to acquire Avery Williamson, a full-time starter, who would serve as depth as Robert Spillane steps into the starting lineup.
Spillane, a second-year player, has filled in well by and large. While he doesn’t have the same athletic traits that Bush possesses, obviously, which is why one was undrafted and the other was a top-10 pick, he knows football and he knows the defense.
Unfortunately, he got injured, too, and is expected to miss some time. He suffered a knee injury, fittingly, making a play on Monday night, getting a hand on an Alex Smith pass as he blitzed up the middle to force an incompletion.
With Spillane down, Williamson had to step in and play the rest of the game, after getting in some rotational time in recent weeks. Now he’ll have to go all the way for whatever length of time Spillane will be down.
“I guess we’ll see. I definitely plan on playing a lot”, the veteran said of his expectations for his role on Sunday, while speaking to Chris Mueller, Andrew Filliponi, and Arthur Moats on The Fan during an interview earlier today.
“We’ve just got to see” he continued. “I’m glad Rob didn’t [get seriously hurt]. It sounds like everything’s gonna be good. Hopefully he’s gonna heal up quick. He’s having a great season. I definitely give him credit. He’s been having a great season”.
Prior to being acquired by the Steelers, Williamson spent seven and a half years in the league with the Jets and the Tennessee Titans, including a year on the Reserve/Injured List. He has made 81 starts in his career and logged more than 4000 defensive snaps, including over 1000 in 2018, so a starting role is far from new territory for him.
“Whatever time he has to miss, if any, I just want to make sure that I’m prepared, and whatever role they got for me, I’m gonna make sure I’m ready”, he added later during the interview, and that is, of course, exactly the reason that the Steelers acquired him in the first place.
So far in four games with the Steelers, he has played 81 snaps on defense, logging 12 tackles, among them one for lost yardage. He was the primary tackler on nine of his 12 tackles so far. He also had 59 tackles in seven games with the Jets before he was traded, in addition to an interception and three passes defensed.