The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Robert Spillane should see playing time if Devin Bush’s play doesn’t improve this week.
Explanation: Regardless of whatever the reason might be, Devin Bush is not playing particularly well right now, which even the coaches are beginning, at least in a roundabout fashion, to acknowledge, and his last couple of games in particular have put down some really questionable reps. Robert Spillane isn’t the answer, but he has starting experience, and they don’t have a ton of options.
It doesn’t matter who Bush is or where he was drafted. If his being on the field is not giving the defense its best chance of making a play, then the coaching staff has to recognize that and adjust until the circumstances change that reality. And right now, there are certainly times where that has been the case.
Maybe Bush is thinking too much about his knee when he’s out there and isn’t entirely comfortable. Maybe he’s just not processing the game well. But they can’t have him continue to play the way he’s been playing. They already play Spillane in the dime, for some reason. There’s no reason he can’t play in base or nickel.
The defensive front is not doing a good job of keeping Bush clean and free to make plays. That is the role that he was supposed to have in this defense. Nobody was touting him as a traditional buck linebacker who’s going to shed all these blocks. His asset is speed, and they’re not positioning him to use it to full effect. Improving the defensive line is a bigger priority than tweaking the linebackers. Hopefully Carlos Davis can help.
But if you’re going to replace Bush, it doesn’t have to be with Spillane. There are other options. Maybe give the rookie a try, for instance. That’s far-fetched for most, I’m sure, though we don’t know how he’s looked in practice. There’s Ulysees Gilbert III with some speed if you’re worried about losing that with Spillane. Or you can just play Joe Schobert and a lot of dime.