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Cole Holcomb isn’t scared of a little green dot

The paralysis of over analysis.

That is a little catch phrase of mine, as the majority of individuals familiar with my writing already know. The phrase is referring to any situation where an individual feels overwhelmed with responsibilities and decision making, to the point that they freeze from indecisiveness.

They desperately want to do the right thing, but end up actually accomplishing nothing.

Take former Steelers inside linebacker Myles Jack as a recent example. I was excited when the Steelers signed the former Jacksonville Jaguars standout last offseason. At least until I talked to an acquaintance who lived in the area, and was a Jaguars fan.

He warned me of two truths that he had learned over the years watching Jack perform.

1) Jack had lost a step after becoming more injury prone in recent seasons.

2) Don’t ask the man to wear the green dot!

Yes, he stated that second part with emphasis. Like a deer in headlights, if I recall his comment correctly. I immediately knew what he was referring to, because it is a common occurrence.

The off-ball linebacker tasked with wearing the green dot on his helmet is the quarterback of the defense, helmet mic and all. He must possess the leadership and communication skills to relay the defensive plays, call out necessary adjustments, and make sure his teammates are all on the same page. It is a huge responsibility, definitely not for the faint of heart, or the intellectually challenged.

Steelers Nation had an impressive wish list of free agent targets at the inside linebacker position this offseason. Guys like Tremaine Edmunds and Germaine Pratt were at the top of almost every list, but those were dream scenarios more than reality. As the top tier guys started signing hefty contracts during the first few days of free agency, it became apparent that the Steelers had other plans.

Omar Khan and company were looking for affordable upgrades that meet specific criteria: Experienced leadership and renowned physicality. The Steelers were done with the passive aggressive mindset, after watching Devin Bush repeatedly get taken out of plays after running straight into congestion, instead of displaying the effort needed to find away through or around to make an impact.

That’s why I believe that Cole Holcomb was not only on the Steelers radar leading up to the start of free agency, but I believe he was a primary target.

Holcomb is a throwback to a forgotten era. His mullet says it all. He is a wild child on the football field, hellbent on tackling ball carriers with bad intentions, maybe best described as controlled aggression. How does the old saying go referring to a mullet? Party in the front, bring the pain in the back. That doesn’t sound right, but it seems to fit Holcomb to a tee.

This ultra intense mindset makes Holcomb a paradox in some ways. Although he is very aggressive, blessed with a great motor, he is also detail oriented. This is a rare combination, but it’s an ability shared by the majority of exceptional inside linebackers. Guys like Jack Lambert, Ray Lewis, Mike Singletary, etc. Not suggesting that Holcomb will ever sniff that rarefied air, merely pointing out the importance of multitasking for the man entrusted with wearing the green dot.

Holcomb already has proven experience wearing the green dot, from his successful tenure as a defensive captain for the Washington Commanders. His leadership and communication skills will be crucial for a Steelers defense with plenty of new faces in new places.

Holcomb’s 4.51 speed and underrated mobility will be showcased as the Steelers starting Mack linebacker, where he can hopefully help improve the Steelers middle of the field defense, which was woefully nonexistent last season.

Holcomb is reportedly fully healed and healthy from the season-ending foot surgery that caused him to miss the final 10 games of 2022. The Steelers have been cautious with Holcomb this offseason, gradually working him back into form. The Steelers basically already know what type of player they are getting in Holcomb, so there is no reason to risk injury at this point of the offseason program and make sure he is 100% before turning him loose.

Holcomb is one of the newcomers that I am most excited to watch this preseason. Even though Holcomb might not have been at the top of any Steelers fan’s wish list, I fully expect him to exceed all our expectations.

Holcomb wasn’t the preferred target on the free agency market, but he could turn out to be the ideal fit at the position for the Steelers. Here’s hoping for good health and happy hunting.

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