Could veteran inside linebacker Robert Spillane actually work his means into the beginning lineup as a result of a powerful coaching camp? It positive sounds that means, in response to first-year defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
Speaking with 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn Thursday morning prior to practice at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Austin was requested in regards to the rotation at inside linebacker on the first-team protection that includes Spillane, Devin Bush and Myles Jack, with Spillane rotating closely with Bush, who’s coming off of a reasonably poor 2021 season general.
While that rotation is by design, in response to Austin and head coach Mike Tomlin, Spillane’s play could possibly be forcing the Steelers’ hand, Austin stated to Hathhorn, stating that Spillane is placing himself into the dialog to start out at inside linebacker on Sept. 11 on the highway at Cincinnati to open the season.
“Robert Spillane has put himself in the conversation. It’s a heck of a competition,” Austin stated to Hathhorn, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “If we were trotting starters out today, they would be Jack and Bush. But Spillane is a close third.”
So far in coaching camp, Spillane has obtained a wholesome dose of snaps with the first-team protection whereas rotating with Jack and Bush. That shouldn’t come as a lot of a shock after Spillane performed in a career-high 14 video games (4 begins) and recorded a career-high 56 tackles whereas enjoying 36% of the defensive snaps and 61% of the particular groups snaps.
Spillane is arguably the most effective run defender at inside linebacker on the Steelers. He performs with physicality coming downhill, most famously making an enormous hit on Tennessee’s Derrick Henry on the purpose line a number of years in the past to cease the star working again in his tracks, which few have performed for the reason that got here into the NFL.
Though he’s had some points in cross protection on the inside linebacker spot, he’s a strong spot-drop defender who reads the quarterback’s eyes effectively and sometimes finds himself across the soccer.
Ideally, Spillane supplies the Steelers with a strong No. 3 choice behind Bush and Jack, however based mostly on his sturdy play in camp thus far, he may push somebody like Bush right into a reserve function, which wouldn’t be a lot of a shock general. Still, there’s a whole lot of soccer left between now and Sept. 11 in Cincinnati, and rather a lot can change.
It’s actually value monitoring although, with Austin being so forthcoming, praising Spillane and stating outright that he’s within the dialog for the beginning function in 2022.