The Steelers are unsure if they will have their green dot wearer and key starting inside linebacker Elandon Roberts against the Patriots. But if he does not play, they will need to find a new green dot wearer, which is unlikely to be an inside linebacker, whoever it may be.
When Mike Tomlin talked to Bob Labriola for his usual Q&A session on Thursday, Tomlin revealed that Minkah Fitzpatrick would wear the green dot if Roberts could not play on Thursday. That’s an interesting twist, but it’s not the first time the team has done something like that.
“You know, probably Minkah Fitzpatrick because he’s an all-circumstances player,” Tomlin said. “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. 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. If Elandon is not the guy, it would probably be Minkah from a hierarchy of green dots, if you will.”
There are a few tidbits of information. For one, the Steelers will likely use an extensive rotation at inside linebacker. It’s not that surprising, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless that Pittsburgh is looking at trying to mix and match different linebackers to achieve the best possible results. If Roberts is not going to play, you would imagine that Myles Jack, Mark Robinson, Mykal Walker, and Blake Martinez might all see some role in the gameplan, but where and in what packages is unknown.
Fitzpatrick as the green dot wearer makes sense from a fluidity perspective. Undoubtedly, once Walker became the green dot against the Cardinals, the communication fell off steeply. It also made Walker’s job harder, and as a player maximized in a secondary and rotational role, that never seemed like the best plan for him.