Steelers News

Elandon Roberts ‘Ready To Adapt To The Foundation’ Already Set In Pittsburgh

While the Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled for the past half a decade to land on the right combination at inside linebacker, one must give them credit for continuing to try. They have lost their top three players at the position from last season, but don’t seem to regret it much and are on to the next group.

The Steelers signed two likely starters in free agency, Cole Holcomb from the Washington Commanders and the more-veteran Elandon Roberts, who was most recently with the Miami Dolphins. Now in Pittsburgh, he has spoken of long wanting to play here because it fits his identity.

I’m very aggressive. I love to hit. I love to run. I love to cover. I just love to play football”, he said in an interview for the team’s website with Missi Matthews. “That’s what being a Steeler is all about. You’ve got guys out there that love playing for each other, love playing for the city of Pittsburgh, so it’s just like, there’s no better feeling.

“So what you’re getting out of me is a guy that’s ready to adapt to the foundation that was already laid”.

That should be music to the Steelers’ ears, though they surely know what they’re getting in Roberts. It’s not like his playing personality has been a secret all these years, even while he was a member of the New England Patriots.

He’s coming here chiefly as a two-down linebacker, a force in the middle who is ready and willing to put the thump back in the heart of the defense. At least that’s the goal. The Steelers have implemented a number of well-paid plans to revitalize the linebacker group that haven’t exactly borne the sweetest fruits.

A month shy of 29, Roberts played a career-high 680 defensive snaps in 2022, starting all 17 games for the Dolphins. He posted by far the highest tackle total of his career at 107, including 10 tackles for loss, with 4.5 sacks and six hits. He produced no takeaways or passes defensed but was increasingly taken off the field in passing situations.

For a Steelers defense that really would like to use a dime defense with three safeties—assuming they get another third safety they really like—the odds are good that Holcomb will be the only linebacker on the field in most obvious passing situations in 2023.

But there will be plenty of opportunities for Roberts to lay the smack on a running back or two, and Pittsburgh has never been shy about using a linebacker like himself to blitz. Hopefully, he can help bring the young Mark Robinson along in the process.

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