NFL Gamepass started producing a film session series last year. Each film session has a different NFL player sit down with Brian Baldinger and, for this season, Kurt Warner to give a player’s perspective on the game, what they see on the field, and their experiences in the NFL.
New episodes are released during the offseason, and the most recent episode featured Minkah Fitzpatrick.
If you have NFL Gamepass, you should definitely go watch it. And if you don’t have NFL Gamepass, you might want to consider signing up for a free trial week to watch the episode.
Minkah Fitzpatrick talks about a lot of subjects in the show, some that will interest Steelers fans a lot.
For example, when asked if he was given an I-pad with the playbook on the flight to Pittsburgh, he responds that the Steelers still use paper for their playbook. He got off his flight, came straight to the team facility, met with secondary coach Teryl Austin, who handed him his playbook and went through 3-4 hours of film with him. Three practices later he was the starting free safety facing the San Francisco 49ers.
During the show Kurt Warner asked Fitzpatrick where he thought he played his best. Minkah Fitzpatrick’s response was that he played best when he was “allowed to be free, and go get it.” Meaning plays where the Steelers free him from specific responsibilities and let him read the play and react.
Steelers fans will surely be interested in discussing the part of the show when Fitzpatrick was asked about the change week to week in the defenses he has played in. He talked about how the defense at Alabama, under Nick Saban, would change a lot every week as they faced the different offenses in the SEC. He talked about how the Miami Dolphins would change their defense weekly, but not as much, and in Pittsburgh, “we might add a wrinkle here or there, but we play what we play, we keep it simple and that allows us to play fast.”
Steelers fans surely remember Dick LeBeau’s defense that was complex, didn’t change much and yet was highly effective, and Mike Tomlin came from Tony Dungy’s coaching tree, where keeping things simple enough to get players on the field early was a main philosophy. I’m finishing up my film series about the evolution of the Steelers secondary, the “wrinkles” they added throughout the season, and K.T. Smith put out a fantastic film room on how the Steelers disguise their schemes. Minkah Fitzpatrick addressed the safeties’ part of the disguise process, how he and Terrell Edmunds will talk on the sideline or before a play, discussing when to show what they are doing, and when to show something else.
It’s impressive when you see how well Fitzpatrick and Edmunds worked together, and how they worked to disrupt the opposing quarterback’s decision-making process. It’s also impressive considering they are both second-year players and they did it without an offseason together.
The interview is a great look at the thought process of the Steelers All-Pro safety. It is impressive the amount of knowledge he brings to each play, and the speed of his thought process when you hear all the things he is processing and see how fast he reacts on the field.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend watching it. If not, you can see a 3 minute clip of Minkah talking about playing Miami from the show HERE.
It will be fun to see what Minkah Fitzpatrick and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense can do with that old-school paper playbook in 2020.