Terence Garvin assumes the role of Nickel Linebacker for the Steelers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Spence playing a hybrid safety/linebacker has been a hot topic for BTSC readers for two years now. All of a sudden, Terence Garvin has taken that role. While his snaps have been limited, it is an interesting and completely unexpected development.

One of the most frustrating things about watching a Steelers game on TV that the announcers are usually a few plays behind what is happening. For instance, Neal and I will normally be e-mailing each other asking why a player is not in the game, and if we had heard anything about an injury.

So, the first time I saw the number 57 in a game, my heart skipped a beat. Was Lawrence Timmons hurt? Jarvis Jones? Jason Worilds? I would frantically watch the next few plays looking for any of the aforementioned players to see if they were still in the game.

It finally dawned on me that Terence Garvin was in for Vince Williams. This left me a little perplexed since I thought that Williams was improving with more experience. After Mike Tomlin's press conference on Monday, the role of Terence Garvin in this defense seems to be becoming clearer.

Turns out, Garvin was a hybrid safety/linebacker in West Virginia's defense. A quick search led me to some of his highlights. It's obvious that Garvin played close to the line of scrimmage (but on the edge, not in the box) and also deep in the secondary. As a result of this unique skill set, Garvin has found a home in the Steelers nickel package. It is a home that many of us thought would currently be occupied by Sean Spence.

Spence had a much higher pedigree than Garvin, but Garvin has actual NFL game experience. Garvin started the game against Green Bay. This is now the fourth rookie gaining significant snaps with the "old" Steelers defense.

This will be an interesting development to keep an eye on this offseason. If the Steelers are excited about the potential of both Williams and Garvin, that will have an impact on the Steelers draft. If both Garvin and Williams, with Shamarko Thomas and Jarvis Jones, turn out to be contributors in this defense for years to come, what a draft we had in 2013. Hopefully, however, we will have a couple of more weeks before having to talk about the offseason and the 2014 draft.

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