4 reasons Steelers unwise to bet on backups to replace Devin Bush

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (41). Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (41). Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (41). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Robert Spillane

Now the Steelers golden boy, Robert Spillane has ascended from practice squad player to sleeper starting linebacker. While the hype is well deserved given his physical play last Sunday, there are certainly reasons to be concerned about him starting going forward. Oddly enough, Spillane has more of a buck build, but he looked okay against the Browns. That said, given the overall struggles Cleveland had, this may not be a true test for Spillane.

As well, he is going from a special team’s player to supposedly the signal-caller for the defense. That kind of jump isn’t easy, and it won’t be surprising if he struggles in that role. As well, he isn’t a notable athlete which could cause issues playing from sideline to sideline. Spillane isn’t destined to fail by any means but simply saying he will be fine because he played well against a team that got crushed is unwise.

This week will be a true test for Spillane, and it will likely determine his future as a starter. Given his physical limitations, there is plenty of reason to be concerned with Spillane, and the Steelers would be wise to try out the other two backups in passing downs given their more athletic styles. He is a feel-good story right now, but that won’t mean much on Sunday if he is getting trampled by the best running back in football.

light. Related Story. 6 options to replace Steelers’ Bush after ACL injury Sunday

While it does make sense for the Steelers to try some of their current backups at starting linebacker before relying on a veteran, there is an inherent risk with every option. Ideally, the Steelers will be able to plug one of these players in and the defense won’t skip a beat. If the unit falters though, it will make the decision not to add an outside option even more maddening.