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: Would the Steelers really take Devin Bush off the field in dime packages?
Head coach Mike Tomlin would bite my head off if I tried to posit an absolute, and he was very clear in his comments yesterday that he considers roles and responsibilities to be in flux with the new acquisition of Joe Schobert. The veteran linebacker did tell reporters that he is basically learning everything that it would take for him to assume every responsibility of the defense.
The question is, will he actually be given all the responsibilities of the defense, and will that mean a reduction in role for Devin Bush, even if small? Because you take a linebacker off the field when you go dime. Would the Steelers actually play Schobert over Bush in the dime defense this year? Bush played 100 percent of the defensive snaps prior to his ACL tear last year.
But Robert Spillane was already the one with the green dot prior to Schobert’s signing. Bush did it last year, but who will wear it this year between himself and Schobert? The latter is a very experienced player, but he is also learning a new defense—something that has been a theme throughout his career, as he also told reporters yesterday.