The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: How will Robert Spillane respond to the acquisition of Joe Schobert?
It had been the presumption pretty much since the day that Vince Williams was first released, if not earlier, that Robert Spillane would have the opportunity to ascend into the starting lineup on a full-time basis this year. That seemed to hold true up until the reports hit that the Steelers were trading for former Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert.
Obviously, you don’t trade for a Pro Bowl-caliber playing with a substantial salary to sit on the bench. The situation is entirely unambiguous. Robert Spillane is back to being a backup and a special teamer now. The only question is how he responds.
And yet I think the answer is equally obvious: With humility and determination. He already had a good day of training camp yesterday, including in coverage. The only thing you can do is continue to get better and wait for your next opportunity—maybe even in free agency down the road.
Spillane definitely does not seem like the sort of person who will go in the tank when facing this sort of adversity, of basically having a starting job taken away from you. Is he pissed off about it? I definitely would be, including at myself. But you might as well let those frustrations fuel you.