In August 2021 the Pittsburgh Steelers traded for Jacksonville Jaguars inside linebacker Joe Schobert, sending a 2022 sixth-round pick the other way in hopes of filling a hole left by the unexpected retirement of Vince Williams. Schobert went on to record 112 tackles (70 solo) last season, according to Pro Football Reference (PFR). Nevertheless, he was widely viewed as the team’s top “cut candidate” come this year, thanks to his scheduled $8.75 million salary.
As it happens, the Steelers went on to replace Schobert by signing another ex-Jaguars linebacker, Myles Jack, making Schobert expendable. And in the opinion of News 4 Jax sports anchor Jamal St. Cyr, the Steelers are getting a better inside linebacker than the one they had in Schobert.
“I think you’ll be a lot happier this go-around than you were with Joe Schobert, I’ll give you that,” he told Tim Benz while appearing on 105.9 The X (Pittsburgh) on March 24.
The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
“Myles has been a good player for the Jaguars … (but he) has been miscast at times on the Jaguars’ defense. I am a firm believer that Myles Jack is an outstanding player but he needs more talent around him than the Jaguars have really been able to do in the past few years,” added Cyr.
Jack’s Best Seasons Came in 2017-2018, 2020
Indeed the former second-round pick (out of UCLA in 2016), played some of his best football in 2017, when Jacksonville won its division and went on to beat the Steelers in a playoff game en route to an appearance in the AFC title game. That season he recorded 90 total tackles (66 solo), along with two sacks and a fumble recovery, per PFR.
On the other hand, he was even more productive in 2018, when the Jags finished 5-11, recording 107 total tackles (75 solo), with 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“All he really had to focus on was running sideline-to-sideline and making plays,” St. Cyr recalls, before noting that Jack’s production slipped during the times when he was thrust into a leadership role — especially when he had to relay the play calls to the defense, as he did for much of 2019.
“He just doesn’t play well with that green dot,” St. Cyr says. “When he is in charge of lining up other guys, making that play call, his play tanks. As soon as you take that green dot away from him and say go out and do your responsibility, it’s like a light comes on.”
Building on that theme, St. Cyr says Schobert had the green dot in 2020, when Jack had a career-high 118 total tackles, along with five pass deflections, a sack, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
But when Schobert left for Pittsburgh, Jack got the green dot again and he struggled mightily, so much so that head coach Urban Meyer took it away from him five games into the 2021 season.
Jack’s play recovered somewhat insofar as he finished with 108 total tackles (62 solo), but he failed to make any big plays as the Jags labored to a 3-14 record. Alarmingly, Pro Football Focus gave him a 37.7 total grade last year, making him the No. 77 ranked linebacker last season, this as compared to Schobert, who was ranked No. 49 with a 53.6 grade.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
The Steelers Also Need a Bounce Back Season From Devin Bush
That said, it should be interesting to see which Steelers defender wears the green dot in 2022. Pittsburgh’s other projected starting inside linebacker is former first-round pick Devin Bush Jr., who has struggled to return to form since suffering a torn ACL in October 2020. Teammate Chris Wormley, former teammate Vince Williams and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin have pointed to the injury as being a contributing factor to Bush’s “spotty” play.
Regardless, Bush faces a pivotal season, as he will be in a contract year, assuming the Steelers don’t exercise the fifth-year option on his contract—a decision that must be made by early May.
• Ex-Steelers Lineman Caps ‘Unusual Week’ by Signing With Buccaneers: Report
• Titans Re-Sign Ex-Steelers Linebacker in ‘No-Brainer Move’: Report
• Steelers Urged to Sign Polarizing Ex-Bills WR to Replace JuJu Smith-Schuster
• Free Agent QB Josh Dobbs Gets Tryout With Steelers’ Hated Rival
• Provocative Pittsburgh Sports Personality Celebrates the End of Steelers’ ‘Showbiz Era’