Steelers LB Larry Foote Says Young Linebackers Must Dominate Special Teams In 2013

The Pittsburgh Steelers will need contributions from several of their young linebackers this upcoming season after losing yet another starter this past offseason in the form of James Harrison, who was released back in early March. Veteran inside linebacker Larry Foote, who just so happened to turn 33 on Wednesday, talked about the roles the young linebackers will have to fill in 2013 during a recent interview, and he highlighted special team contributions as being perhaps the most important area where those contributions will be needed.

“Jason Worilds, (Jarvis) Jones, and Chris Carter, we need guys to step up to fill those roles, not only on defense, but on special teams,” said Foote. “We lost two important guys last year over on special teams, so we need linebackers to dominate that unit. That\’s what we used to be known for. The last couple of years DBs have taken that role, but I think it\’s important that our young guys know we need to dominate that. Dominate special teams.”

The two defensive backs that the Steelers lost during free agency that played heavily on special teams the last few seasons are safeties Will Allen and Ryan Mundy. That means Chris Carter, Jarvis Jones, Adrian Robinson and perhaps even Stevenson Sylvester and Marshall McFadden, should either make the final 53 man roster, will have to pick up the slack on a unit that hasn\’t been overly great the last few years.

As Foote points out, the Steelers have long had a tradition of having their young linebackers make an impact early in their careers on special teams, but injuries to Carter, Worilds and Sylvester dating back to their respective rookie seasons has not allowed for that to happen.

As far as Sylvester goes, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Wednesday that the former fifth-round draft pick had been moved outside, but Foote referred to Sylvester on Thursday as more of a hybrid guy who is still receiving snaps inside. This will be one thing to pay close attention to during training camp and the preseason, as position flexibility might be his only ticket to the 53 man roster out of training camp. That and his ability to stay healthy and be a special teams warrior.

  • 2443scott

    well said foote ..i agree thats better than them sitting on side lines let them get used to getting hit and the game speed ..i think thats why special teams been so weak cause db`s in there who cant hit these guys hard enough to knock them down.

  • steeltown

    There has always been LB’s playing on special teams.. there are only 53guys on a roster and 45active on game day. All backup DBs, LBs, WRs, TEs and RBs have to cut their teeth on special teams. I think whats being expressed here is these guys need to step up, stay heathy and contribute.. namely Carter and Sly who have missed significant time every season due to injury.. and also A.Robinson who somewhat struggled on special teams last season as a rookie

  • TJimmy

    Go get ’em linebackers… just don’t generate a pile of “illegal block in the back” penalties while you’re at it.

  • steeltown

    McFadden and Sly both excel on special teams… A.Robinson and Carter need to show improvement in that area

  • sean mcmartin

    Hope foote worries about himself having a pro bowl year and lets the young guns learn from example.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Adrian robinson wouldn’t be showing any improvement because he didn’t play special team whole season. However i’d still like to see him playing special team, maybe he will, maybe not.

  • steeltown

    I would assume if he wasn’t playing on ST it probably means he struggles with ST coverage

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Perhaps. Other argument would be he’s considered as too valuable to be put on practice squad. However with already a year under his belt Steelers and FO would expect a lot more. If not, he better perform where our expectation of him is at.

    I mean I saw somewhere that he never really played special team in college so it must be his pass-rushing that’s got the Steelers FO attention.

  • steeltown

    I think he blocked a kick, but coverage I think he is lacking in experience. He’ll need to contribute this year for sure because Worilds and Cortez Allen will not be asked to play ST now that they are starters and Will Allen and Mundy are gone

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Oh? I didn’t know that. I suspect Worilds will still play ST, he’s a beast and just because he probably will be splitting the PT at ROLB (I’m just assuming) and now that we have Shamarko who is easily an upgrade over Will Allen for ST I am not that concerned with our ST but as far for our defense I’m somewhat concerned. We need facts, STAT lol not hypes.