Not only did the Steelers require the services of Avery Williamson, still just weeks into his tenure with the team, this past Sunday, they also called upon him to wear the green dot on his helmet, which signals that he has the earpiece that relays the defensive calls from the sidelines. He is responsible for relaying the call to the rest of the unit and setting the defense.
It’s not a responsibility that you can entrust to anybody, of course. The player taking on the task has to have a very solid working understanding of the defense that is being run, and he also has to be adjusted enough to be able to carry out that assignment without it affecting his performance.
Of course, Williamson is not a novice, by any means. He had several years of starting experience, including time wearing the green dot, in other organizations before he ever found his way to Pittsburgh. But he only had a handful of weeks before being asked to step in against the Buffalo Bills.
“The main thing for me is just, if you’re wearing the green dot, just making sure that you’re keeping your cool, especially when guys are like, ‘what’s the call’, or we get a call in late”, Williamson told Missi Matthews on Friday about the responsibility of setting the defense. “Just to make sure that you don’t panic. Just make sure that you’re communicating clear as possible and being loud”.
The task belonged to Devin Bush at the start of the season, a second-year former top-10 pick. They wanted to give it to Bush right away, but they felt that he ultimately wasn’t quite ready for it, so they handed it off to others.
When he went down earlier this year, the green dot passed on to his replacement, Robert Spillane, a second-year player with very limited defensive experience. But he has had more than a year spent in the Steelers’ system, and they knew that he would be on the field. Cameron Sutton would wear it when he subbed in.
Now that Spillane is sidelined for a few games, it’s been Williamson. Would he continue to wear it when Vince Williams gets back? Williams has worn it in the past, but the assumption is that Williamson would be the every-down linebacker anyway, with Williams coming off when they go to a dime defense.