Steelers Sean Spence, Arthur Moats Split Time At ILB During Wednesday’s Practice

Sean Spence Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed inside linebacker Sean Spence to a one-year contract on Tuesday and the team’s former third-round draft pick practiced with the team on Wednesday. Spence, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, split reps with outside linebacker Arthur Moats at the inside positions during Wednesday’s practice.

Spence was signed due to fellow inside linebackers Ryan Shazier and Tyler Matakevich both suffering injuries during the team’s Monday night game against the Cincinatti Bengals. Both Shazier and Matakevich are expected to miss the Steelers Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens and if that’s ultimately the case, L.J. Fort will likely get the start alongside Vince Williams with Spence and Moats serving as their backups.

Rutter reported that Spence said on Wednesday that the defense hasn’t changed since he left after the 2015 season and that’s certainly good news as he should be able to get up to speed very quickly. Spence last played with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.

As for Moats working inside, the Steelers outside linebacker played some as an off-the ball-linebacker during his first four seasons in the NFL as a member of the Buffalo Bills. With that said, Moats hasn’t played inside any since signing with the Steelers in 2014. In short, Spence would likely be the first option for the Steelers at inside linebacker should anything happen to Williams and Fort.

One byproduct of Moats currently working inside is that veteran outside linebacker James Harrison is now expected to dress for the Sunday home game against the Ravens. Harrison has only played 29 defensive snaps all season and hasn’t been a game day active player since the team’s bye week.

As of right now, it doesn’t appear as though the Steelers have any plans to sign rookie inside linebacker Keith Kelsey to their 53-man roster from their practice squad ahead of the Sunday night game against the Ravens.

  • Chris92021

    Interesting that Arthur Moats is getting reps at ILB. I hope we aren’t going to ask him to cover too much ground.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    I like it. Moats is a very smart, savvy veteran. I’m surprised that this wasn’t done sooner. Alot of us asked for this move with the expected emergence of Keion Adams.

    I also like the S.Spence signing. Neither our Shazier but who is other than 50. hopefully they can provide enough support for us to get by. Biggest concern is pass coverage.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    is spence going to go back to wearing 51?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    also. only tangentially connected story. i got a package in the mail today from shonda and arthur. steelers tshirt and an autographed picture thanking me for service. good people.

  • Pghomer

    Anyone know who was cut or placed on IR to sign S Spence?

  • pittfan

    I like seeing Deebo in the mix.

  • Matt Manzo

    Didn’t have to make a move since Juju is suspended.

  • Matt Manzo

    I liked Dave’s idea of having Dangerfield thrown into the mix!

  • John Phillips

    What about Watt inside and Harrison outside?

  • Pghomer

    Didn’t know that Matt. Thx for the insight…interesting.

  • gdeuce

    they have used Watt standing up in some 4-3 looks

  • gdeuce

    yes

  • Dshoff

    I’ll bet that Harrison is so pissed off at the coaches.

  • nitrous12

    I always liked Spence. Had high hopes for him when drafted and felt terrible for him when he went down with that knee injury. Was always pulling for him and I was happy he made it back.
    I am surprised he was on the street. I know he wasn’t a pro bowler last year, but it looked like he contributed. Then to not stick on the Colts roster?
    This team made it pretty far without too.much injury trouble. Now just like that ILB is not looking good at all.

  • MC

    An option; move Watt inside and put Deebo out there in his usual spot. Supplant Golden for Dangerfield and have him roam the box and fill run lanes in sub packages if needed.

    Glad they went with Spence off the street. Knows the system and can play better than 44.

  • John

    Agree. Not sure Dirty Red even if healthy is the answer at ILB. So nice to see Spence and Moats getting some work.

  • Don’t poke the badger

    Welcome back Sean!! Have great faith in you, Silverback and Arthur to pick up the slack. Now it looks really smart that the coaches have been limiting James’ snaps. Release the beast!!

  • Steve

    Going to take Spence some time to get into “Football” shape. Maybe a game or two for Spence, but Debo will be ready, practicing and working out daily.

  • Steve

    Why ? Debo is getting paid and willing to play. If James is mad, he will be mad on the field. True Team Player.

  • Jollyrob68

    This is the game to activate James Harrison, It’s Ravens vs Steelers and The Steelers can clinch The Division. Love the signing of S.Spence.

  • Iulo

    and don’t forget this, Flucco wets his pant every time he sees Deebo! 😀

  • Iulo

    although I like Dangerfield, it looks very improbable now to make any move there…. he is only in PS
    so you need to make a roster move for that and there are already many pending roster moves to come…
    one once Gilbert comes back, another one next game after the suspension of JuJu….
    shaking and unpredictable days are coming for the roster

  • Iulo

    indeed… and don’t forget Fort also has showed nothing but to be a backup player

  • will

    History shows that unfortunately Spence is the polar opposite of Tomlin’s “one rep guy” when he referred to Watt learning the defensive plays.

  • PA2AK_

    Hopefully we just ask him to watch and it doesn’t come to that!

  • FATCAT716

    Why? He is an older player there just to be players coach for these young guy’s. He understands he’s had his time

  • FATCAT716

    Another one when Haden comes back

  • PA2AK_

    Am I the only one that thinks there is a legitimate reason Deebo hasn’t seen much PT? ‘Stashing’ a guy, even him, makes no real sense to me I guess. I think Father Time finally caught him. Yes, still workout warrior, but I just wonder how well he can play still. Hopefully I’m wrong and he actually is the secret weapon.

  • Iulo

    no… Haden is injured but not on IR, so he still has his roster spot.
    Sutton is using Gilbert’s spot
    Spence is using JuJu’s spot

    so there you have two roster moves to come….

  • Kevin artis

    The entire back is not looking good right now. We might have Mitchell back but we could be starting a rookie corner who has not played or practice most of the year.

  • kakello34

    “The defense hasn’t changed since the 2015 season” Maybe it should, so opposing QBs can’t throw completions all over the field to wide open receivers.

  • dany

    If it wasn’t for the chiefs game I’d agree. His usage and success there, while limited, makes me lean more towards a great coaching decision for an older dude

  • Conserv_58

    Please. Having Golden and Sensabaugh replacing Mitchell and Haden will do that.

  • Conserv_58

    It’s ravens week. This is the one game that Joey needs to unleash Deebo. Deebo owns Flacco. Unleash the beast and watch Flacco soil himself.

    As for Spence and Moats taking reps at ILB I expected that type of scenario would take place.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    This hopefully opens door for James Harrison playing!

  • 20Stoney

    I think it’s because they are dropping the OLBs in coverage so much. Harrison can still rush and play the run, but he can’t cover much at this point in his career.

  • capehouse

    After watching the game again I don’t think Matakevich played as bad as I thought he did, Fort didn’t play as good as I thought he did, and Moats still sucks. I really hope Deebo plays against the Ravens and makes enough plays so Tomlin is forced to keep him active over Moats the rest of the year. Think it would be smart to put Watt at ILB too. Seems to have the skillset and knowledge to play anywhere.

  • capehouse

    he’s in the video wearing 51

  • Conserv_58

    No he isn’t. Deebo has given no indication of being angery with Joey Porter, his position coach. James knows what Joey’s plan is for him and even though he has shown some frustration over being inactive, James knows what his role is.

  • capehouse

    I don’t know, I think stashing a 39 year old guy on a team expected to make a deep playoff run makes a ton of sense, especially for the player.

  • FATCAT716

    You are correct thx I forgot

  • Taylor Williams

    I actually have to see him on the field to come to that conclusion. He can’t cover anymore, which is fine. But I’m sure he still plays the run better than Dupree. His strength alone warrants some PT.

  • Taylor Williams

    Dirty red’s problems are really his very limited athletic abilities. He can tackle well, but isn’t a good play caller or cover guy. He’s a lesser Vince.

  • Taylor Williams

    Haden by himself changes the D. He’s out and a scrub named sensabaugh took over.

  • e. smith

    TJ Watt is rangy. Why not put him in the middle and put Deebo back in his normal spot?

  • steelmann58

    love to see 92 in Flacco face like the old days

  • falconsaftey43

    He last played a game on October 1st, so I’m sure he’s been keeping himself in good shape, it wasn’t that long ago.

  • falconsaftey43

    For all the problems we see in this defense, they’re still 5th in points, 4th in yards, 2nd in pass yards, 6th in pass TDs, 7th in INTs, 8th in rush yards, 3rd in drive score%, 8th in completion%, 7th in QB rating, 2nd in sacks, 6th in ANY/A, 9th in 3rd down%, 13th in RedZone %, 4th in points per drive.

    Those are some pretty good numbers.

  • falconsaftey43

    And they did only give up 20 points to the Bengals. They only scored less 4 times. first two games of season before they fired their OC (and played BAL), the other time Steelers played them, and JAX (best D in NFL?). So it’s not like they got destroyed by the Bengals.

  • falconsaftey43

    well because then you can’t have Deebo doing the things in coverage that you have Watt doing right now. You can do it, it’s just still really lmiiting what you’re doing. Be the same as having a guy at ILB that can’t cover.

  • MP34

    What does this mean? You think he’s slow to pickup up the defense? I don’t think that’s the case at all.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Now you all that wanted to cut Arthur Moats may understand his value on the roster.

    DONT CROSS THE MOATS

  • ThatGuy

    If there’s roster space I hope they give 92 some reps this week and then unleash him fully on Dec. 17

  • Chuck Anderson

    Yep. Even having a pretty good preseason, it was clear that he – and several other ILB vying for a spot – were at best backups for 98. Sound players without much athleticism. Fort seemed a bit quicker and looked closest to appropriate to back up Shazier, but still not *that* close. I was hoping we’d pick up Spence before the season – pretty sure he was available for a while.

  • connfyoozed .

    Agree. I think a lot of people are selling Moats a bit short. He’s not starter quality, he doesn’t have the speed to rush outside often anymore, but the guy is really smart, works his behind off, and has some skill. He’ll do fine inside in the short term if need be.

  • LHW

    And they will have to run the ball to win. Deebo is the best option for that.

  • LHW

    I wonder if Troy P. is up for one more game. I bet Flacco still has nightmares of him.

  • LHW

    Deebo won’t have much green to cover. A hail Mary for Flacco is like 4 yards these days. Now with that just being said, I bet he burns the Steelers for more deep throws in this game than he has had all year!

  • Michael Mosgrove

    so glad spence is back.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    well i wasnt relying on that to be the actual uniform number. we’ve been bamboozled by that before.

  • Roblisberger

    Whatever happend with Keion? Did we release him or is he on our PS?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    thats a poor critique of moats. he hasnt had many snaps to develop a rhythm this year.

  • Zarbor

    Yeah, he’s not in football shape so that’s big issue when asked to play one of the most physical games of the year. Hopefully, he plays little if any….I did like Spence when he was here. Hopefully he still has his speed.

  • corduroyninja

    Matakevich seemed to be involved in all sorts of tackles before he got hurt.

  • lonnie

    Could be wrong but I think he’s on IR

  • nutty32

    Strange. The tweet seems to imply Fort is not in line to start. “Spence and Moats split First Team reps.” Fort played well in preseason. Perhaps he’s got above the neck issues keeping him off the field.

  • Chuck Anderson

    Yes, he’s a very good tackler. But weren’t all of those takedowns for 7+ yards?

  • hdogg48

    Move Watt and Dupree inside on a rotational basis,
    then give Deebo and Chick ample snaps on the outside
    on a rotational basis.

    Keep Vince in for most of the snaps.

    I don’t envision Moats or Spence giving us any improvement
    over that and should be seen ONLY as (quality yet to be
    determined) depth.

    Without Shazier the Middle of the field could be more
    vulnerable, but both Watt and Dupree have the size,
    speed and athleticism to do CLOSE to the same as Shazier did.

    Hilton has shown that he is at least a good option to
    guard the slot.

    Mitchell and Davis need to step up and help Artie or
    Sutton or Sensabach guard the deep ball.

    These combinations will give us our best shot at stopping Flacco
    and company, and of course we need a more CONSISTENT pass
    Rush. Monday they stepped up when the game was on the line,
    but it would be nice to see them dominate EARLY for a change.

  • DAWAARE

    dupree might be a good ILB?

  • Conserv_58

    Mike Mitchell’s ankle is not and most likely will not be completely healed this season. He’s not going to be able to run as fast as he can as a result.

  • rystorm06

    It’s a big part of the defense evolving. OLB’s are required to drop into coverage, something James would be a liability in now. Our best pass rushers are now our interior linemen (mostly heyward), and we rely much less on OLB pressure to get to the QB.

  • hdogg48

    Then why not try out Allen? He’s got speed.

    We’re not going to win any races when we run
    lame horses.

  • Ichabod

    Not confident 92 ever sees the field again.
    If they thought there was any “unleash” in him, they would have used him by now.
    It makes no sense to me that he has been set aside completely

  • Josh

    see Alex predicted Moats as a spot ILB from the beginning of training camp. catch up, everyone!

  • Cavallonator

    I bet they are letting him rest up and stay healthy to get back in the mix for pats and the playoffs. No one better in those situations.

  • Cavallonator

    Thats awesome man… they seem like really good people… thanks for your service

  • Matt Manzo

    Just passing it along! I asked the same question. Now that Shazier is on IR, they might not have to make a move when Juju gets back.

  • will

    On second thought ….you are right.

  • Zarbor

    He sure isn’t a very good OLB…

  • Steve

    Spence is the one that is not in football shape. Do agree that Spence was a good ILB when with the Steelers last, so once he gets into shape, he should be fine.

  • Steve

    Two months is awhile to be out of football. If your not playing or practicing daily, its easy to get out of football shape. it still will take Spence a few games to play every down on D.

  • Steve

    Debo will come in, if needed and play well.

  • Steve

    The OLB come to the QB from the outside. The DT and NT come up the gut.

  • Jim Foles

    We will see how he plays sunday. he runs slow. so i dont see a great day for him.

  • Jim Foles

    we need him for the jags

  • Shane Mitchell

    What makes you think he runs so slow? He actually runs a 4.6 forty.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    He got placed on IR. Should have him back next year