It seems the Steelers got some good news before their matchup against the Patriots. The team did not elevate linebacker Myles Jack from the practice squad after an injury to Elandon Roberts, who was nursing a groin injury. Roberts was officially listed as questionable, but it would seem like the standout linebacker will play without Jack being elevated. That means Blake Martinez, Mykal Walker, and Roberts will likely fit into a rotation. Pittsburgh elevated outside linebacker Kyron Johnson for special teams’ help.
During his Thursday chat with Bob Labriola, Mike Tomlin hinted that a rotation for these guys could make sense to maximize skill sets.
“With the other linebackers, we’re probably better served to cast a big net and utilize all of them in an effort to maximize performance,” Tomlin said. “It might be a lack of conditioning or preparation from that perspective in the case of a Blake Martinez who hasn’t been here a long time, or it might just be a lack of exposure from a guy like Mark Robinson, in terms of defensive snaps in the National Football League. So it’s best to cast a big net to be inclusive to utilize multiple people when you’re doing that.”
The Steelers will seemingly play with Roberts as the green dot. Meanwhile, Walker and Martinez are likely to rotate. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin called Martinez ‘sharp’ while he prepared himself and got up to speed with the rest of the defense. But now they might need him to play meaningful football in a must-win game. The hope is that preparation pays dividends.
“What I’ve learned about Blake (Martinez) since he’s been here, he’s really sharp, really attentive,” Austin said. “I think –and again, until you get him on the field, you don’t know. I think he’s got a really good football aptitude, blends in well with our guys. All that stuff is positive moving forward.”
Now, Pittsburgh is prepared to play a solid game against the New England Patriots, even with a banged-up Roberts, who they hope can tough it out and finish the game.