Behind two beginning linebackers and key communicators, Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander, the Pittsburgh Steelers confronted an uphill battle on the place coming into Week 11 in opposition to the Cleveland Browns.
Veteran inside linebacker Elandon Roberts, signed in free company this offseason, made that battle a little bit simpler the remainder of the season. Roberts, who wore the inexperienced dot on Sunday as the primary communicator for the Steelers protection, performed all 75 snaps in opposition to the Browns. He completed with a career-high 15 tackles, breaking his earlier career-high by 4.
Though the efficiency got here in a 13-10 loss, with the Browns’ offense, led by rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, driving straight down the sector for the game-winning subject purpose, Roberts was arguably the Steelers’ finest defender on day. . He made performs from sideline to sideline whereas usually dealing with himself nicely in protection.
On the day, Roberts scored a 71.1 general from Professional Soccer Focus, together with a 44.3 in opposition to the run and an 83.3 in protection. He had two tackles for loss however was charged with 11 receptions on 14 targets for simply 49 yards, though the targets and receptions seem exaggerated.
That is what the film is for, although. Let’s check out Roberts’ day in opposition to the Browns.
Roberts’ dealing with skills have been fairly noticeable on Sunday.
Early within the sport, the Browns tried to overwhelm the Steelers’ protection within the display screen sport.
Roberts reads this display screen fairly shortly and shoots downhill to get exterior the blockers, turning the operating again in towards assist. It might not find yourself within the stats as a sort out, however it’s a excellent transfer from Roberts. It processes shortly and is on its approach. This comes from movie research and information tendencies.
His physicality additionally confirmed up in a giant approach fairly shortly.
That is tips on how to fill a spot in opposition to the run.
Roberts reads his keys once more, sees the hole and shoots downhill, pulling guard Joel Bitonio head-on into the hole. He blows up Bitonio, ending the run at that time.
This kind of play is constant from Roberts. That is who he’s on the place. Laborious as nails, shoots downhill with energy and metes out punishment.
Good play right here from Roberts too, in opposition to the run, displaying off his vary and skill to combat via blocks.
Look how shortly Roberts processes, clicks and closes.
He does an excellent job crossing the formation and taking up the guard attempting to succeed in the second stage. As soon as there, Roberts does a pleasant job of working Bitonio’s face, placing his head within the gap and ultimately entering into the run cease, limiting the Browns to a brief acquire.
Course of. It exhibits up repeatedly on tape in opposition to the Browns.
Roberts reads this tight finish display screen in a short time to David Njoku, combining with exterior linebacker Alex Highsmith to blow it up.
Because of Highsmith and Roberts, this piece by no means had an opportunity to develop. The latter comes downhill and locks Njoku into the display screen earlier than the offensive line even has an opportunity to get into area.
Within the run sport, even when Roberts graded poorly on PFF, I preferred what I noticed.
This was one among my favourite reps from Roberts on Sunday afternoon. He does a superb job of charging inside on the blocking broad receiver, staying proper on the road of scrimmage after which coming off the block and making the stick within the gap, taking away the cutback lane.
It’s by no means a good suggestion to ask a receiver to dam a linebacker, particularly the again. Roberts made the Browns pay for it.
After that play, Roberts turned it on late.
Cleveland tried to check Roberts in area just a few occasions within the passing sport.
Every time, Roberts was as much as the duty.
This was a tone-setting play for Kareem Hunt on a swing go out of the backfield. Roberts adopted him all the way in which, closing the bottom with nice velocity and taking a large angle to the ball. He hit a superb hit on Hunt in area earlier than the massive sort out for loss, placing Cleveland behind the chains.
Cleveland tried once more just a few drives later, this time forcing Roberts to work via visitors.
No drawback for the skilled linebacker.
One other key cease in area and a sort out for loss by Roberts pushed Cleveland again close to its personal 10-yard line.
He confirmed good vary and velocity in area. Plus, he was an excellent tackler in area. That is a giant level that is additionally being missed.
The PFF numbers might not totally agree, however Roberts had his finest sport as a Steeler Sunday. He was in a full-time function, nonetheless dealing with particular groups duties, enjoying each second of protection and taking up the inexperienced spot obligations.
Add to that the truth that he was impactful from a playmaking standpoint all through the sport and Roberts confirmed that the Steelers must lean extra on him to emerge as “the man” at inside linebacker – and that he was brief at inside linebacker with out Holcomb and Alexander won’t be as large of an issue as anticipated.