LATROBE Ryan Grant Jersey , Pa. (AP) — Tyler Matakevich wants to prove he can handle the job. Jon Bostic just wants to be on the field.
Matakevich and Bostic are competing for Pittsburgh’s opening at inside linebacker after the Steelers did not use a draft pick on the position. The winner gets to start alongside veteran Vince Williams and an opportunity to help fill the massive void left by Ryan Shazier, who is out for the season while recovering from spinal stabilization surgery.
“What happened to Ryan was terrible,” Matakevich said. “But that was an opportunity that not too many guys get, to step in and really step up.”
The Steelers signed Bostic to a two-year contract in March to provide veteran depth at inside linebacker after Shazier got hurt last December at Cincinnati.
“I told (coach Mike Tomlin) that when I came in, I’m coming in to compete,” Bostic said. “I would like to not come off the field and going forward, I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that happens.”
The Steelers gave Matakevich and Bostic a vote of confidence when they opted not to select an inside linebacker in April’s draft.
“Whether they (selected a linebacker or not), I would have the same mentality,” Matakevich said. “Seeing how everything unfolded, it definitely gives you a little boost knowing that they believe in you, too.”
Matakevich, a 2016 seventh-round pick, has played in 31 games with the Steelers. While he hasn’t made any starts on defense Josey Jewell Color Rush Jersey , his impact has been felt on special teams, particularly last season.
Matakevich blocked two punts, including one that was recovered for a touchdown. He also broke up a pass on a fake punt by Minnesota.
Matakevich took the majority of the first-team snaps during spring workouts, but he and Bostic have shared the starting role during training camp practices.
The well-traveled Bostic is currently on his fifth team, having also played with Chicago, New England, Detroit and Indianapolis. He said it doesn’t matter where he practices, as long as he’s on the field.
“To be honest, it’s important to get the reps,” said Bostic, who was Chicago’s second-round pick in 2013. “Regardless of whatever (group) you’re running on the field, I still have to earn my job.”
Bostic spent 2017 in Indianapolis, finishing with 97 tackles Authentic Rashaan Gaulden Jersey , a sack and a fumble recovery in 14 games before a knee injury ended his season.
Matakevich battled a shoulder injury last season, initially getting hurt against Kansas City in October. He left a December game against Cincinnati and was inactive the next week against Baltimore before finishing out the season and undergoing shoulder surgery following the Steelers’ playoff loss to Jacksonville.
“It definitely held me back, playing pretty much the whole year with one arm,” Matakevich said. “It’s hard enough with two, but it’s definitely a little harder with one.”
Now, there isn’t anything holding Matakevich back. The same goes for Bostic.
“When we’re out there, we’re competing against each other, but we’re making the defense better,” Bostic said. “When the defense is better, the team is better, and at the end of the day, we just have to make sure we get better on our side of the ball.”
NOTES: Tomlin said OLB Bud Dupree has a concussion. … WR Antonio Brown missed his fourth practice and is considered day to day. … CB Joe Haden, CB Brian Allen Authentic Customized Rams Jerseys , OL Chukwuma Okorafor, OLB T.J. Watt, TE Vance McDonald and CB Coty Sensabaugh all missed Saturday’s practice. … WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster couldn’t finish the workout.
It didn’t seem to matter much who was pitching against DJ LeMahieu. After striking out in his first at-bat, the Rockies leadoff hitter was as locked in as he’s been all season.
Especially in the ninth inning when Colorado trailed.
LeMahieu hit a two-run homer in the ninth and set a career best with five RBIs as the Rockies rallied past the San Francisco Giants 9-8 on Thursday to snap a four-game losing streak.
”It was a good one to win,” LeMahieu said. ”I feel like we’ve been on the other end of that for the last couple of weeks so it was good to win that one late.”
Nolan Arenado hit his 19th home run, tying him for the National League lead with Washington’s Bryce Harper. Trevor Story added three hits for Colorado, which had lost four straight at San Francisco.
The Rockies blew leads of 5-2 and 7-5 and were down 8-7 before scoring twice off closer Sam Dyson (2-2) to avoid a series sweep.
Chris Iannetta hit a leadoff single in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Pat Valaika. After pinch-hitter Tom Murphy popped out, LeMahieu sent a full-count pitch from Dyson into the left-field stands.
Two nights earlier, Dyson got LeMahieu to ground into a game-ending double play with the tying run on base.
”It was roughly where we wanted,” Dyson said. ”I figured we’d go (inside) like we did two nights ago. Just didn’t get it far enough in there.”
It was a big hit for a ballclub that had been 0-37 when trailing going into the ninth.
”That was a big swing when the momentum shifted back to them in a big way,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”It takes a special moment and a special swing to get it back on our side and DJ put a great swing on that ball. It was awesome.”
LeMahieu had an RBI single as part of Colorado’s four-run fourth. His two-run single off Ty Blach in the seventh gave the Rockies a 7-5 lead.
Each of LeMahieu’s hits came off different pitchers.
”He knows the opposition, he knows pitchers,” Black said. ”He’s as prepared as any player I’ve been around.”
Adam Ottavino (4-1) gave up two runs but retired three batters to win. Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
All three games in the series were decided by one run.
Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer Authentic Hayden Hurst Jersey , Joe Panik had two hits and two RBIs while Pablo Sandoval and Andrew McCutchen also had two hits for San Francisco.
The Giants trailed most of the afternoon but took an 8-7 lead in the eighth when Alen Hanson doubled in two runs.
”That was a hard fought game,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ”Tough one when you have a lead in the ninth and we couldn’t hold on to it. Sam was just a little bit off.”
Arenado homered off starter Chris Stratton in the first, his 10th this season in the opening frame.
It was also Arenado’s 10th career home run at AT&T Park, tying former Rockies infielder Troy Tulowitzki for second-most among visiting players. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt has 11.
Neither starter factored in the decision and had nearly identical lines.
Stratton allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings. Colorado’s Jon Gray also gave up five runs in four innings but yielded seven hits with seven strikeouts.
BACK TO BACK
Giants catcher Nick Hundley threw out a pair of runners trying to steal second base in consecutive at-bats in the eighth. Story hit a leadoff single but was thrown out. Gerardo Parra then reached on an error but was quickly erased when he tried to take second
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a noted Dodgers fan, attended the game and sat next to the Giants dugout, at one point reaching over to shake hands with Bochy.
Giants: C Buster Posey was held out of the starting lineup due to the pitching matchup but had a pinch-hit single in the eighth.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (4-3, 4.62 ERA) faces the Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series in Los Angeles on Friday. Anderson is unbeaten in nine road starts this season.
Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (2-4, 4.43) takes the hill against the Diamondbacks on Friday.
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