PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ inside linebacker room is anything but set. They signed former Memphis linebacker Tyler Murray to the practice squad, and Mykal Walker and Tariq Carpenter are getting ready to play. But that leaves communication in an entirely different place.
Adding Murray gives the Steelers five healthy linebackers entering the week of practice. He joins Walker and Tariq Carpenter on the practice squad, behind starters Elandon Roberts and Mark Robinson on the active roster. The Steelers have had their depth at linebacker depleted by season-ending injuries to Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander in the past two weeks.
However, Alexander and Holcomb were both the green dot wearers. They have done some fancy things in the past, like giving T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick the green dot. But that does not seem likely to be happening this week. Instead, it will be split up into a two-man job. But the main man for the role will be Roberts.
“We both have them,” Walker said. “Today, E Rob was working them, but we both have dots.”
Simply put, that means that Walker can run the green dot, and he has done so in the past while with Atlanta. He never thought he would be in this spot. But he worked alongside Roberts for most of Wednesday. Also, Robinson got his first crack at the green dot on Wednesday. That’s not something that he is typically used to doing. So, it is an adjustment, but if the worst-case scenario happens and Roberts gets injured, he has to be ready to throw that green dot on, and he is shaping up to prepare for it. However, Robinson is not sweating it, and treats it like another normal day.
“No, it was just a normal day, man,” Robinson said. “Going out there, it was just about communication.”
Robinson Prepares for Duty
Robinson felt like the game had slowed down for him already. In his first significant action since last year in Baltimore and the most snaps in his entire career, Robinson was proud of the tape he put out against the Packers. But he wants to take another step forward each time he gets out there.
“I just felt like the tape I put out there this week was a step above what it was last year,” Robinson said. “That’s always a good thing, and I’m looking forward to repeating the process and getting another foot ahead.”
For Robisnon previously, the Steelers have thrown him in there against teams like the Ravens, who run an undeniable brand of smashmouth football where the running back turned linebacker’s focus can thrive. But don’t let the opportunity distract you from the fact that Robinson wants to show that he can do it, even if he is not sure they will call on his name.
Pittsburgh has two guys with significant experience with the green dot. Walker is a veteran, and even though he does not know the playbook as in depth as others like Roberts, Robinson, and Carpenter, he needs to get up to speed quickly. It will be a huge part of their gameplan to stop the Browns on Wednesday.