When the Pittsburgh Steelers added veteran linebacker Myles Jack in free agency following a surprise release from the Jacksonville Jaguars, the black and gold were expecting to get an experienced linebacker who could help shore up the issues inside that have persisted since the tragic injury to Ryan Shazier a few years ago.
Turns out, they got more than they bargained for — in a good way — with Jack, who has a renewed sense of energy in the black and gold while playing under a coach like Mike Tomlin. He’s brought a much-needed sense of physicality back to the room following the retirement of Vince Williams and has stepped into a leadership role rather quickly defensively.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday during his weekly Tomlin Tuesday press conference, Tomlin praised his new inside linebacker, calling him a highly competitive player, and one he’s excited to walk this journey that is the 2022 season with him.
“Man, he’s a linebacker. He’s a linebacker at all times, 24 hours a day. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him,” Tomlin said to reporters Tuesday, according to video via Steelers.com. “He’s highly competitive. He’s extremely critical of himself. He’s a good teammate. He loves football. He likes to laugh. It’s been a good get to know process with him and I’m excited about walking this journey with him.”
That’s what the Steelers needed at inside linebacker, especially after a 2021 season that saw the likes of Devin Bush and Joe Schobert struggle mightily in all phases. There was a lack of urgency, a lack of physicality and an overall lack of direction and guidance at that position, especially after losing Williams to retirement prior to training camp last season.
Enter Jack this year.
Based on the early returns in training camp and the preseason, the Steelers got themselves a good one once again in the middle of the defense. That’s what has Tomlin so excited, especially due to the mentality he brings as a tried and true linebacker, which means something in the black and gold.
How it turns out on the field remains to be seen, but very rarely does Tomlin express a personal feeling for a player. That shows how quickly and comfortably Jack has fit into the scheme and the culture in Pittsburgh. Big things could be ahead.