Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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The #Steelers are playing with fire at inside linebacker

The Steelers have trouble brewing at inside linebacker.

Prior to the Ryan Shazier injury in 2017, the Steelers defense gave up 17.5 points per game. For reference, that's better than what the excellent 2019 Steelers defense gave up per game.

After the Ryan Shazier injury, the Steelers defense gave up 28 points per game including 45 in a Divisional Round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Steelers were so thin at inside linebacker after the loss of Shazier that they had to sign street free agent Sean Spence.

The other options were Tyler Matakevich and L.J. Fort. Yikes.

After cutting Mark Barron this offseason, the Steelers have Vince Williams and Devin Bush as the starters at inside linebacker.

Devin Bush should only get better in year two and Vince Williams is a solid run stopper.

After those two though, it's a whole lot of nothing. Robert Spillane and Ulysees Gilbert III could wind up being good players, but that's an optimistic viewpoint as both guys are unproven.

Kevin Colbert spoke to reporters before the draft and said, “I am really comfortable with Vince Williams and really comfortable with Devin Bush. Could we add some more depth? Sure. Right now, we are kind of in a holding pattern to get a better feel for what is left on the free-agent market.”

The Steelers didn’t add a viable inside linebacker in the draft. They didn’t add a guy via free agency. Yet.

They're an injury to Devin Bush away from taking a great defense and turning it into an average one.

If you don't have fast inside linebackers, you don't have a fast defense. Right now, the Steelers don't have enough depth at the position.

Hopefully history doesn't repeat itself.

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