Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Injuries to James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are never good, unless you’re a backup linebacker.
Harrison’s and Jason Worilds’ presence on the physically unable to perform list and have provided Chris Carter with the opportunity to work at right outside linebacker with the starters.
The experience is very valuable for Carter, as he missed part of last season due to injury.
Carter is visibly stronger than last year, but it has not always shown when rushing the quarterback. He still depends on his speed.
However, Carter has been showing more in defending the run, which is a necessary skill to play in the defense.
Keith Butler has been impressed with the progress of Carter, but acknowledges that he still has room to grow. Via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
He doesn’t know much about a lot of pass coverage and formations. He’s always been right on the tight end or the tackle. He has to play the true linebacker position and he’s never had to do that. But he’s still learning. He’s a never-say-die guy. He’s Clark Haggans. I feel like he’s going to be quicker and maybe a little stronger when he does learn it.
Playing with the starters will be a big help in developing these skills, especially playing with all of that talent in the preseason games.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the defense, Stevenson Sylvester has gotten time at left outside linebacker.
Sylvester has played on the inside, but has the size and the athletic abilities to transition to the outside. In fact, he may be a better fit there.
If nothing else, Sylvester playing both spots will provide some position flexibility, which we all saw that the Steelers needed last year.
They do not want to have to move Lawrence Timmons to the outside again. He was ineffective there, and in essence, this move weakened two positions.
As the preseason continues, both players should get their opportunities to catch the eyes of the coaching staff.