In an interview with local media last week, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler dropped some nuggets of information when it comes to plans for the 2020 season. While addressing multiple questions about his inside linebackers, some may not have focused heavily on Butler statement about All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick hasn’t been shy this offseason when it comes to discussing how he envisions the remainder of his career with the Steelers. Already asking to be able to move more freely in the Steelers secondary, Fitzpatrick also dropped some interesting quotes on a special appearance on Game Pass NFL Film Session.
“At Alabama it was a new defense every week,” Fitzpatrick explained about his college days. After a few words about the defense he played in Miami, Fitzpatrick went on to describe the defense so far in his time in Pittsburgh. “Here, we play what we play. We might add a wrinkle here or there, but we play what we play. We keep it simple. It allows us to play fast.”
It could be taken several ways how Fitzpatrick feels about the Steelers defense, but if they are not changing things up week to week it may have little to do with him even though he did not spend 2019 training camp with the Steelers.
Coach Butler made a similar statement when asked about if the defense would be ready to hit the ground running in 2020.
“Minkah has been here for a year now. He’ll know the defense in and out.”
When Keith Butler was asked more specifically about Fitzpatrick having a year in the system and how much she could be improved in 2020, he confessed Minkah was capable of doing more than what he was requested to do.
“I think he is a very smart young man,” Butler replied. “Many of us are smart in different things and some things we are not. But he is very football savvy. He has been around for a little while. Of course, he went and played at Alabama. They did a good job with him down there. He came to play for us, and we tried to limit the amount that we put him with in the first couple weeks we had him and then we realized he could handle a lot more than we were giving him at times. He did a good job for us there and even more so this year we think he can help us quite a bit. Obviously, we think he is a top tier guy in the League and if he could continue to get better, which we think he can, it should make us a little better.”
With the Steelers coaching staff being fully aware Fitzpatrick is capable of handling so much more than what he was asked of in 2019, it will be exciting to see what he can bring to the Steeler secondary in 2020. There is generally less room for improvement when a player is coming off of an All-Pro season, but if taking the bet on Fitzpatrick’s level of play this coming season compared to 2019, I’ll take the over.