When the Steelers’ big move of the offseason to replace injured Ryan Shazier was to sign veteran journeyman JonBostic, more than a few fans were concerned.
After all, they had seen the Steelers go from a defense that had allowed an average of just over 17 points per game with Shazier in the lineup to one that allowed 28 points per game following his spinal injury last Dec. 4 in Cincinnati.
But inside linebacker coach Jerry Olsavsky told me following practice Thursday he feels good about what he’s got at the position, a feeling the front office seemed to echo later in the day when it signed six-year veteran Vince Williams to a four-year contract extension worth just over $20 million.
Right now, Bostic is the guy who will replace Shazier in the base defense next to Williams. It will be Williams who plays the middle on passing downs.
“Vince can be that guy,” Olsavsky said. “The amazing thing about Vince is you watch his feet and his attention to detail, it’s very good. You could put on film from three years ago and never think he’d be a guy who would get eight sacks. He’s the guy right now. He’s that replacement. We have some big guys who play in the back, and we may bring another guy in, but that would only be in third-and-longer. You still have to stop the run, even on third down.”