PITTSBURGH — The Steelers can welcome Kwon Alexander to the starting rotation. In their Week 1 depth chart, the Steelers have Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts listed with ‘or’ beside their name, with Alexander as the name following it. Essentially, Pittsburgh has three starting inside linebackers, and Alexander earned his way to that title.
The inside linebackers have evolved in such a way that has allowed each skill set to pop. Alexander projects to be the player that reps in the dime and nickel packages, while Roberts ends up as the hammer. Holcomb likely wears the green dot as the do-it-all guy. Their communication has come a long way.
“We’ve been evolving. Getting better every day. Every little thing,” Alexander said. “Picking up off each other’s game. We know how to talk. We know our strengths and weaknesses and what we can do better for each other. We are just working around that and helping each other.”
Alexander earned that starting job with those designations after balling out in the preseason and training camp. Coaches have worked with Alexander to get him up to speed, and now he is going at 100 miles per hour. The room at large feels that way, though. Pittsburgh’s inside linebackers might end up being better than anticipated.
“We have to communicate when we are playing ball,” Alexander said. “That is one of our first things. Communication in the linebacker room has been growing and it’s growing a lot.”
Alexander switched his number to 54 on Monday, a linebacker-friendly number that fits in with the rest of his room. However, his coverage skills stick out from the room. As a hard-hitter, he fits right in with the other players in that mentality. When he was on, he thumped a few running backs shortly into his stay. His second practice with the team back in August was in pads. That day was simply a sign of things to come, and Mike Tomlin saw him pick up the defense fast.
“Man, I tell you, he’s a veteran,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “He might be new to us, but he’s not new to environments like this or to professional football and it’s showing, showing in a hurry.”
Expect Alexander to be an integral part of the team’s rotation, which they have started to move towards after the bust of Devin Bush. Pittsburgh wants to have depth and various skillsets at that spot, and it seems they will have that with the three new additions.