TAMPA, Fla. — Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Elandon Roberts and the totally new inside linebackers group got their first trial by fire in the team’s preseason opener on Friday, as Roberts, Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander formed the nucleus of the team’s inside linebackers for the first time as a unit.
The trio combined to take all of the reps for the first team defense, and even after Roberts was pulled out for the day, Holcomb and Alexander continued to play for much of the first half.
They didn’t rack up big stats. Holcomb had two tackles, Alexander two and Roberts one. But more importantly, they didn’t miss any assignments and didn’t allow any splash plays against, keeping the Tampa Bay offense bottled up for most of the night.
Alexander did have some negative with a 15-yard penalty, but head coach Mike Tomlin praised his energy level.
“He’s highly competitive,” Tomlin said. “I’m sure it’s easy to be competitive in these circumstances. You step into the [stadium] bowls and stuff, but he’s highly competitive and an energy-bringer in practice situations day-to-day and I appreciate that.”
Robert spoke with Alan Saunders of Steelers Now at Raymond James Stadium after the Steelers’ win and first test passed for the linebackers group.