The Steelers know they’ll be without Ryan Shazier this season. The group of linebackers that are expected to replace his production are confident they can handle the job.
“They don’t give the rest of our inside linebackers credit,” Matakevich said. “I think Vinny is a tremendous player. He’s smart. We just brought (Jon) Bostic in. He’s played four years. He knows what’s going on. L.J. Fort‘s been here for a long time. He knows this system. I think we have the guys who are capable of doing it.”
Matakevich, Williams, Bostic, Fort, T.J. Watt. Bud Dupree and Anthony Chickillo will be among the options Pittsburgh has to turn to in order to cover the hole created by Shazier’s injuries. The Steelers allowed 133.5 rushing yards per game once Shazier went out Week 13 as Pittsburgh struggled to adapt to his absence.
But even without Shazier, Williams believe the group in place will be enough to succeed.
“We don’t have another Ryan Shazier on our team,” Williams said. “But we do have very capable, starter ready middle linebackers.”