Though the Pittsburgh Steelers have done their best to limit Robert Spillane’s playing time, every year he finds a way to get on the field. Whether it’s trading for Avery Williamson or Joe Schobert or drafting Devin Bush or signing Myles Jack, #41 ends up seeing snaps by season’s end. 2022 is no different and over the last two weeks, Spillane hasn’t missed a snap.
Speaking with reporters as he does every Thursday, DC Teryl Austin said Spillane has run with his chance.
“I think Rob’s earned the opportunity to play a lot,” he told reporters via a transcript provided by the team. “I think we’ve had some leakage with some guys in terms of some injuries and some nicks and some different things like that. So, that opened the door for Rob, and I think he’s taken advantage of it. He’s done a good job with it.”
As Austin notes, Myles Jack has battled through injuries over the back half of the season, most recently a groin injury. In Saturday night’s win over the Las Vegas Raiders, Jack only played in the team’s base defense while Devin Bush only played in nickel. Spillane? He played in all situations, base, nickel, and dime. Salt of the Earth, Spillane’s climbed the ladder from undrafted free agent to consistently impress the team during the summer with his football IQ. He had a great training camp with us writing:
“I’ve dubbed Spillane the new Anthony Chickillo. Fantastic camps year-after-year but ones we know won’t fully translate to regular season action. Spillane was everywhere this summer, run and pass game. He had great 1v1 battles with Benny Snell in coverage drills, he picked off two passes in team sessions, and he blew up more run plays than I can count.”
On the year, Spillane’s racked up a career-high 62 tackles (three for a loss) with four pass deflections and one sack. A free agent after the season, the Steelers have a decision to make on him. He won’t break the bank but Pittsburgh will have to determine his market value while making other decisions at the position. Bush and Marcus Allen are also slated to hit free agency.
Spillane’s run defense will be key in Sunday night’s rematch against the Baltimore Ravens. In the first matchup, the Ravens ran for 215 yards and closed out the game on the ground. Pittsburgh’s run defense must be better this time around, Spillane included, who struggled against TE Josh Oliver and FB Patrick Ricard. But overall, Spillane’s impressed Austin.
“[Injuries] opened the door for him to get some more reps and he took advantage of it.”