PITTSBURGH — Cole Holcomb’s injury is another dent into the armor of the Steelers’ defense that they rely upon so much. A consistent force and the green dot wearer, Holcomb’s loss presents new challenges for Kwon Alexander and Elandon Roberts at linebacker, but they might not be the only ones who will have to step up in his absence.
The team has a young, talented linebacker in Mark Robinson, who they hope can become more than just a guy with potential. Robinson has only played in spurts throughout his career in spots that made obvious sense. They 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.
“If it’s my time, it will be my time,” Robinson said. “But if not, I just have to keep doing what I’m doing now and that’s preparing myself. We’ll see when that time comes. When we get up under the lights, it will play itself out.”
When he came to Pittsburgh, there was little doubt about the type of player Robinson saw himself as and how he indebted himself to the fabric of Pittsburgh. He was a run-stopper who could lay the boom. Robinson’s a quiet but intense player on the football field. It’s different than the intensity that Roberts plays with, but Robinson brings the same type of hard-hitting qualities as Roberts, but now it makes him even more athletic. Is Robinson ready from a processing standpoint? Pittsburgh has to find out if he is prepared to make that leap.
Despite sharing that similar fabric as past players like Vince Williams, Robinson will never compare himself to anyone but Mark Robinson. He’s a professional in that manner, who has embraced all the help that veterans are willing to shower upon him throughout the season. But if you want a summation of how Robinson plays football, all you have to hear is what happens when the lights go on.
“At the end of the day, football is everything for me,” Robinson said. “I eat, sleep, and breathe football. I love the game. Any aspect of the game, let’s go. Just put the ball down, and let’s play.”
Holcomb’s loss presents heavy challenges for Robinson. But none more than Pittsburgh will finally expose him to plays outside of his comfort zone if they choose to play him. There are other options externally, and even Mykal Walker on the practice squad could make sense. But the leader in the clubhouse to get more snaps is Robinson, and if the opportunity comes, he hopes to show he’s ready for it.