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 will start rotating with Devin Bush once he’s healthy.
Explanation: While Robert Spillane was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 List, he is still dealing with a knee injury he suffered a little over a week ago. Yet in that game, after some very early struggles, the Steelers did pull Devin Bush for a short spell and replaced him with Spillane.
If it weren’t for his suffering a knee injury against the Bengals, I would imagine that we would have seen Spillane rotating in with Bush for two weeks now. There’s a reason that the coaching staff pulled Bush early on in that game. They had seen enough.
Unfortunately, they don’t really have other viable options outside of Spillane, with Marcus Allen, Ulysees Gilbert III, and rookie Buddy Johnson being the other linebackers on the roster. There’s a reason that they are not playing on defense, and have only played defensively in the past when there have been significant injuries.
Spillane, on the other hand, has been given a defensive role, even one that nobody would have anticipated, because they want to use him. He’s a guy who’s already in the rotation in a sub-package, who has starting experience in their system. A few more ugly reps from Bush, and we’ll see Spillane out there.
Notice how there was hardly any talk about Devin Bush or his play the past two days? That’s because he didn’t give fans reason to complain about his play on Sunday against the Ravens. On the whole, at least. He didn’t stand out as a liability in the way that he had been in recent weeks, which had alumni like Arthur Moats and Chris Hoke calling him out.
Maybe it has something to do with the defensive line getting healthier. They played more disciplined ball up front, and it helped them control the run game. Bush only made two tackles during the game, but he played every non-dime snap. Spillane has his dime role. That’s what he’ll play when he returns. Bush already got the message two weeks ago with the quick sit.