The Pittsburgh Steelers have a list of problems coming out of the 2021-2022 season. One of those problems, and a serious one, has been pushed down the pecking order of importance since the season ended. This issue would be Minkah Fitzpatrick leading the Pittsburgh Steelers in tackles and breaking a franchise record for tackles in a season by a defensive back.
Sure, it is great seeing Fitzpatrick make contributions on the physical side of the game, but the problem remains that running backs and receivers were getting to the deep free safety before getting tackled by someone else.
The Safety position is properly named as they really are your safety blanket and last line of defense between the offensive player and scoring a touchdown. Getting past them means you’re probably going to put points up on the board. So, it is positive when your safety can consistently get guys to the ground and stop splash plays from happening. However, for the Steelers, these plays often happened and Fitzpatrick was tasked with making way more tackles than he ever should.
Who is to blame? You can point the finger at basically every other position on the defense. The most obvious issue is at the feet of the linebackers who really should be leading the team in tackles.
The problem with placing all the blame at the linebackers however is the defensive line’s issues. The defensive line was so bad at times in 2021 the linebackers were getting swallowed up by offensive linemen before they could even diagnose the play. This is a multi-tiered issue for the Steelers, so finding talent at both the defensive line and line backer positions are needed.
Letting Minkah Fitzpatrick worry less about stepping up into the run game and diagnosing pass plays would let him play his best style of ball and save his body from breaking down over time with the added stress of being a top tackling defensive back. This defense operates best when the defensive line keeps the linebackers clean, and the linebackers simply make the tackles they are supposed to make. If the Steelers can do that, I am certain Fitzpatrick’s turnover totals will jump back up along with his total tackles going down.
But what do you think? Do you have an issue with Minkah Fitzpatrick being the Steelers Leading tackler in 2021-2022? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.