It’s almost remarkable to think about how far Pittsburgh Steelers second-year linebacker Terence Garvin has comein about a year and a half. While he may not be a starter, he seems assured of a roster spot just a year after having had to earn a place on the 90-man offseason roster by participating in the team’s tryout session.
Garvin is, in fact, just one of three reserve inside linebackers on the roster that have demonstrated significant potential this preseason, along with last year’s starter, Vince Williams, and the feel-good story that is Sean Spence. But don’t be surprised if Garvin sees some time on the field this year as well, and not just on special teams.
While his size has generally relegated him to nickel work in the minds of many—this is the role that he served last year, after all—“Big Safety” has shown some nice work in the running game in the two preseason games so far as well.
Taking on and getting through blocks would be a part of that role, of course, as he did here in the fourth quarter against the Bills’ pulling left guard. He was able to use his size and agility to his advantage on this play, moving to the guard’s inside and then sticking to the ball carrier, driving through him to make the tackle, along with Shamarko Thomas.
Later in the fourth quarter, on the Bills’ penultimate drive, he assisted on the tackle with Dan Molls on first down, and then brought the running back down with a solo tackle, as seen above. In this instance, the defensive line did a nice job of creating space for the linebacker to make a play, and Garvin used his speed to close in and finish.
Even though this play did go for seven yards after the running back bounced it to the outside with nobody properly sealing the edge, I like see it as a good display of Garvin’s body mechanics and how he’s able to use his safety-like frame to his advantage as a linebacker from time to time. He even absorbed a hit from fullback Evan Rodriguez before escorting the ball carrier out of bounds.
And lest we forget, Garvin also sacked Jeff Tuel on second and one on the Bills’ final drive just a play before the big turnover that helped seal the victory. Admittedly, the right tackle displayed some seriously questionable awareness here, but the linebacker made quick work of the running back, and then showed nice bend and body control once he swam past the pocket to cut back upfield and get to the quarterback.