These Steelers must head to the bench for the team to tank

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (41). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (41). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /
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Robert Spillane #41 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field on October 10, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Robert Spillane is holding back a rookie

I give Robert Spillane a lot of credit as a player. Undersized and unathletic, Spillane had all of the makings of a very unnoticeable undrafted player that would quickly fizzle out in the NFL. He showed enough special teams ability to stick and continued to work to get better. Eventually, he got the nod as a starter and top backup, and he has held his own on defense.

While I have little issue with Spillane as a backup and special teams player, I do believe he has seen the defensive field too often this season. He’s played nearly half of the defensive snaps so far, which is far too much for a player of his caliber. Add in his expiring contract after this season and Spillane shouldn’t be a primary defender when his upside is so little.

Meanwhile, rookie Mark Robinson has been mostly inactive this season following an impressive training camp. While I would have no qualms with Robinson sitting out his rookie year in a normal season, with the playoffs out of the question, he needs snaps. There will be plenty of lumps, but you want to see what you have in the rookie now as opposed to questioning it next off-season. Spillane is a logical player to sub for the promising rookie.

light. Must Read. What the Steelers should be playing for in lost season

If the Steelers were still in the thick of a playoff push, doing whatever it takes to win is the only logical choice. That isn’t the scenario anymore though as Pittsburgh has essentially eliminated themselves, and now the focus has to be on the future. These four players don’t have a future with the Steelers, and they need to be benched in favor of some other options.