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Quarterbacks will continue to avoid Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2021

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Quarterbacks will continue to avoid Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2021

Number of Minkah Fitzpatrick targets with the Steelers:

2020: 25 (14 games); 52% completion percentage
2019: 26 (16 games); 50% completion percentage

Why it will happen: Just looking at what Minkah Fitzpatrick has done ever since joining the Pittsburgh Steelers is enough reason to believe quarterbacks are simply going to avoid throwing the ball in his direction. With five interceptions in his first seven games, Fitzpatrick didn’t see any more interceptions in the second half of the 2019 season simply because the ball wasn’t coming in his direction. In 2020, Fitzpatrick only saw one more target according to Pro Football Reference than what he saw when his 14 games in 2019. With teams struggling to complete half their passes against Fitzpatrick, and with him getting another four interceptions in 2020, it would be wise to steer clear of wherever number 39 lines up for the Steelers.

Why it won’t happen: The NFL is an ever-changing monster, and teams are putting the ball in the air more and more. Minkah Fitzpatrick only seeing 26 targets last season was an unusually small number which will ultimately need to rebound as teams look to go after the Steelers defense. Whether or not they will find success will be the biggest question. But if they do, avoiding Fitzpatrick may no longer be the game plan for teams moving forward.

Prediction: This may have been one of the harder scenarios to break down so far during this series. It’s not because of the prediction being difficult, but actually coming up with a reason why this wouldn’t happen. If teams don’t avoid Minkah Fitzpatrick in the Steelers’ secondary, it’s a recipe for disaster. Adding some uncertainty at the cornerback position, which may or may not end up being the case, and there’s no reason to go after Fitzpatrick with the résumé he has built in Pittsburgh.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.