Spillane Showed His True Value With His Run Defense
Stopping the run is something that linebacker Robert Spillane knows all too well.
In fact, it happens to be something that he does very well, as he showed in Week 16 against the Las Vegas Raiders. When Myles Jack was hampered by a groin injury and the No. 10 overall pick in 2019, Devin Bush Jr., was unable to stop the Raiders' ground attack, they called on Spillane to get the job done.
His response was 12 tackles, 1.5 stuffs, and he played a major role in relegating All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs to just 44 rushing yards. It was a win that would not have been possible without Spillane's contributions.
It was not a coincidence that the Pittsburgh Steelers' run defense improved exponentially the last three weeks of the season when his snaps increased. The following week against the Baltimore Ravens, Spillane registered nine tackles in a game in which they allowed 120 total rushing yards. In their Week 18 win against the Cleveland Browns, their All-Pro running back Nick Chubb was reduced to just 77 rushing yards. Spillane himself played all 64 snaps and registered eight tackles.
With the Steelers' defense finishing the season 27th in run-stop win rate, their run defense continues to be one of their biggest weaknesses. Even if the team elects to find a solution externally, Spillane showed in a short period of time that he can be an asset in resolving this issue in 2023. For what he may lack in coverage skills, Spillane's willingness to put his body on the line to stop the run makes him worth keeping.