Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: ILB Robert Spillane
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: With starting inside linebacker Devin Bush being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, Robert Spillane will be the next man up in the event that Bush is unable to clear protocols in time to play.
In the Steelers’ first game in a while in which all of their top three inside linebackers were healthy, Joe Schobert played 57 of 80 snaps. Devin Bush played 53 snaps. Robert Spillane, finally back from injury, was on the field for 34 snaps.
Already coming onto the field in dime packages, if indeed Bush is out for the upcoming game due to COVID-19, then it’s possible Spillane plays every snap. He did log a high percentage of snaps last season when he was starting, upwards of 85-90 percent.
Bush is actually coming off of one of his better stretches of the season, even if that isn’t saying too much, recording three passes defensed over the course of the past two games, with 13 tackles. He only had one pass defensed on the season prior to the last two games.
Truth be told, there are probably a lot of people who are happy, from a football perspective, that Bush was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, even if they don’t actually wish him any personal harm. Many have held the belief that he should be benched for his performance.
It would take a lot for him to clear protocols in time to play this week, even with the revisions that make it easier. Chances are very high that Spillane starts and plays quite a bit. If he can play well—and especially if the run defense suddenly looks better—then we’re probably going to see him playing more and more, even once Bush gets back. Possibly even starting.