Connect with us

Steelers News

New Steelers LB Fitting Right into Hard-Hitting Culture



Steelers Chapelle Russell
Pittsburgh Steelers lienbacker Elandon Roberts at OTAs, May 25, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

UNITY TWP., Pa. — One of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s favorite catchphrases is “I would rather say whoa than sic ‘em.”

Tomlin is referring to his preference for players that are too aggressive and have to be restrained, rather than ones that have to be told to be more aggressive.

It’s safe to say that just a few weeks into his first training camp as a member of the team, inside linebacker Elandon Roberts has been one of the former.

“I kinda just play one way,” Roberts said. “I just wait until they tell me to chill out.”

And that’s already happened at least once in the first part of camp. 

“The first time backs on backers,” Roberts said. “I had to chill.”

Roberts obliterated running back John Lovett in that drill, running him straight over with a bull rush and sending him flying, head over heels. Lovett, related or not, hasn’t practice since that day.

“That’s my fastball,” Roberts said. “I’m not a one trick pony, but if you want that fastball, you’re going to get it. It is what it is. … I took a little bit off it at the end.”

If that’s a little bit off of his fastball, the full heat must be something to behold.

“I’m not an arrogant player, an arrogant person,” Roberts said. “Everyone knows what they’re good at and that’s just one gift that I’ve got.”

Roberts came up with the New England Patriots and played with the Miami Dolphins for the last three seasons, bringing a heap of experience to the Steelers inside linebacker position that has seen a near-total overhaul this offseason. But while he may be the most senior member of that group, he’s been challenging himself by facing one of the younger Steelers players.

After handling Lovett easily, Roberts got tasked with a more challenging opponent the next time backs on backers came around on Saturday. Second-year running back Jaylen Warren was much more up to the task, driving Roberts into the ground on their second rep.

RELATED: Steelers RB Jaylen Warren Still Playing with Undrafted Mindset

Those two have been paired up in all kinds of drills, and while backs on backers is slanted toward the defense, Roberts got one back by locking Warren up on a 1 on 1 passing drill, which is much more favorable toward the offense.

“One on ones in space, it’s like they’ve got a joystick in their hand,” Roberts said. “They’re doing all kinds of stuff that you won’t see in a team setting. But you’ve got to stay disciplined, stay to your technique and get through the rep. …

“In backs on backers, my fastball is stutter bull (rush). But at the same time, it’s cut blocks, it’s all that stuff that comes with it. So I’ve got to be cognizant. In that drill, I know I’m not getting cut.”

The combined sum of the drills that favor offense and defense has led to something of a draw between Roberts and Warren so far, with only one more week of training camp practices to sort it out.

The battles have been intense, but Roberts insists that there’s no hard feelings.

“I really do like Jaylen.”

He also said he’s ready to hit someone in another colored jersey when the preseason starts on Friday.