Joe Schobert isn’t very familiar with winning. After all, he’s only played for the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars in his career, and he was already in Jacksonville last year when they had a season worthy of drafting Trevor Lawrence.
That doesn’t ever make losing easier, though. At least for some players. If losing ever gets easy for you, then you’re not a competitor, or you’ve lost the competitive spirit. Schobert still has it, and his first loss in the black and gold sucked as much as the rest of them.
“The amount of work you put in, you feel like you should be winning football games. The first time you lose during the season, it’s like a slap in the face”, he told reporters yesterday. “You just have to learn from it. Now we have 17 games, there’s a lot of opportunities to learn and get better and win a lot of football games. Sometimes getting a loss out of the way is a good thing, because you get that bitter taste in your mouth and you don’t want to taste it again”.
The good thing about sports is that there is almost always an opportunity to redeem yourself waiting around the corner. The Steelers dropped the ball in their home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, but the next game is already fast approaching.
It is a very familiar opponent for Schobert, of course, having spent most of his career in the AFC North, as they will face another team very familiar with losing, the Cincinnati Bengals. Yet every team in the division has already tasted defeat just two weeks into the new year. The Houston Texans got the better of the Bengals this week.
That’s two teams, two division rivals, who are hungry to clear their palette of the taste of defeat. Both teams who are counting on a lot of young and inexperienced players to serve key roles for them this year, along with all the growing pains that process entails.
Even Schobert, a sixth-year veteran, has surely gone through some growing pains. The Steelers only acquired him via trade about a month ago or so. He’s had his ups and downs so far, including in coverage, but he has lived up to his scouting report in always being around the ball.
Schobert has 16 tackles on 132 snaps played so far this year, including 10 on Sunday against the Raiders. He has topped 100 tackles every year he’s started, since 2017, with over 130 tackles in three of the past four seasons, and he’s on pace to match that number this year.
It’ll take a lot more than just a bundle of tackles, though, to actually record a winning season, something he’s never experienced, let alone get into the postseason. He can positively contribute to a very good defensive unit, and he hopefully still has a higher ceiling than we’ve seen in the first two games.