The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team who will be reliant on their defense in 2021. It was once thought Ben Roethlisberger was the “straw which stirred the Steelers’ drink”, but it is safe to say that slogan would be describing the defense this season.
Can T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick do what they did last season and be a dominant force. Be a defense which keeps the Steelers in almost every game despite of the success of the offense?
One of the players who would be tasked with being a huge part of the defensive equation would be Minkah Fitzpatrick. How could a player who was an All-Pro the past two seasons in Pittsburgh get any better? According to Fitzpatrick, his improvement must come from off the field.
“Coach T, this offseason, expressed to me he wanted me to be more vocal not just on the field, but in the locker room, the weight room and also on the field,” Fitzpatrick told media this week. “I am just trying to take to that challenge.
“I’m older now, Year 4. I think it’s time to start sharing my experience and wisdom. I have a lot of experience. I think I can impart a lot of my wisdom on younger guys and even older guys.”
The former Alabama product has been a starter in the NFL since he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2018, and when it comes to experience, he has plenty of it. Fitzpatrick doesn’t lack confidence, and it is time for him to pass down his off field skills to help give other players on the Steelers the same amount of confidence.
“I am very confident in what I do. I am very confident in my abilities,” said Fitzpatrick. “I prepare really well. I think I handle myself like a professional. Guys see that. It’s kind of been demanded on me almost. A lot of young guys are coming to me and asking me questions and picking my brain. I have the responsibility to talk to them, fill them in and take them under my wing.”
When it comes to on field production, Fitzpatrick is as good as it gets as a safety. But clearly Mike Tomlin believes he can provide even more by improving his leadership skills. If Fitzpatrick can help his teammates improve in their preparation and confidence, the sky is the limit for this defense.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.