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Steelers inside linebackers will rotate against Baltimore Ravens in Week 9

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave a vote of confidence to his young inside linebacker - not Ryan Shazier, the first-round pick, or Sean Spence, the fan favorite, but Vince Williams, who hasn't been forgotten just yet.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports


Don't talk about draft position or comeback stories to Steelers linebacker Vince Williams.

No, he wasn't the team's first round pick. He also doesn't have the fan appeal of a remarkable comeback story. Williams is not going away, however, and heading into the midway point of the season, he has battled to neck-and-neck status with Ryan Shazier and Sean Spence.

Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin made the comment during his press conference on Tuesday, two days after Williams saw the most playing time (36 snaps) he's had since last year. It was the first game Shazier had played in since a knee injury in Week 3. Spence had been holding down the fort during that time, but Spence played the first snap of the game and then never returned.

It wasn't due to injury.

The Steelers have an advantage with their young depth at linebacker, and they played a solid game against the run in their Week 8 win over Indianapolis. Their Week 9 opponent, Baltimore, presents a much tougher test against the run. Williams' bulk may be seen as a better fit for this game, particularly considering the Ravens' currently depleted state of depth at tight end.

Expect the Steelers to rotate all three of them in a bit more-balanced fashion during this game, but it's unclear if there will be any specific plan as far as a count for those snaps. Williams shouldn't worry too much, though. He has fought his way back into consideration and is playing solid football.