The ‘green dot’ was the hottest topic in Pittsburgh for a few days weeks ago after the Steelers acquired Joe Schobert and he said he would be wearing the dot. It got big enough to justify me incorporating a lengthy Seinfeld reference into the lede of one article on the subject.
After all that, we still don’t know who is going to be wearing it. In fact, head coach Mike Tomlin suggested yesterday that multiple players may end up wearing it within the course of a game. Devin Bush wore the green dot and played every single snap on defense up until his season-ending injury in week six last year. Robert Spillane had been wearing the green dot prior to Schobert being brought in, but Bush was also coming back from his ACL injury.
“We’ve got options there. We’ve got two guys that are green dot capable, as you guys like to discuss”, Tomlin said yesterday. “The reality is there are multiple helmets on the sideline, and you have the option between series to determine who that ‘green dot’ is. So, we’ll exercise those options and leave it a little bit mystical”.
Tomlin sure loves to keep things ‘mystical’ when he has the chance. He also talked about intentionally leaving the slot position off of the first regular-season depth chart for the sake of not revealing any information about the defense that he doesn’t have to.
Likewise, there could be an advantage, albeit marginal, in the team not revealing who would wear the green dot, as it could indicate who is going to stay on the field more, and possibly what sort of role that player might have.
Both players are capable of setting the defense, as both of done it before, but neither are ideal options. Bush is in his third year in the Steelers’ system, but he has only worn the green dot for five games. Schobert has years of experience setting defenses, but he’s literally been here for a matter of weeks.
I suspect that part of Tomlin’s answer is that he simply doesn’t know who is ultimately going to be their primary defensive conduit, and that it’s something that may have to play out during the season before they can determine the matter.
One would think that they want Bush, their 2019 first-round pick, to do it. And perhaps that is the plan, but only after they see how he looks on the field on his surgically-repaired knee before they count on him being an ever-snap player while also burdening him with the signal-calling responsibilities.