The Pittsburgh Steelers needed help at the outside linebacker position, and when the team opened up a roster spot last week and hosted several pass rushers for workouts the writing was on the wall for them to add a pass rusher to their 90-man offseason roster.
While three names swirled on social media, the player who was signed as a familiar name/face. That would be Tuzar Skipper, who is entering his third stint with the black and gold.
Since the last time Skipper donned the black and gold he has bounced around the league playing for teams like the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans. With Skipper back for the third time, many are wondering if he returns a better player? Skipper has learned from playing for several teams, and with several schemes.
“I definitely learned,” Skipper said of the past 2.5 years. “I learned more of drops (in coverage) and things like that. I basically got to work on my weaknesses a lot. I had to sharpen those up, and now I am ready to ball.”
As for being back in Pittsburgh, Skipper knows what to expect, and he loves where he is now located.
“I feel like I am in a really good place,” Skipper told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “This is the Steel Curtain, baby.”
Skipper developed almost a cult following when he spent the preseason setting the NFL ablaze, albeit in the preseason. Throughout his first four preseason games in the league, all with the Steelers, Skipper put up incredible numbers, five sacks in four games, hence the following.
“It was crazy. Those stats were crazy,” Skipper said. “Felt good to do that. Just trying to do it again. Let it go into a (regular-season) game.”
Regardless of where Skipper called home throughout his NFL career, he is happy to be back in Pittsburgh. A place he has always enjoyed calling home, even if it is not his real-life home.
“This is my low-key home,” Tuzar Skipper said Thursday after his first on-field practice session with the Steelers. “I like it here. I like it a lot. I love it, actually.”
With Skipper in the fold, the team’s depth chart at the outside linebacker position looks something like this:
The five pass rushers will likely compete for four openings, but T.J. Watt likes the look of the outside linebacker room.
“I think there is a good core group of veterans here to learn from,” Watt said. “No one is coming in here being super loud, which I always appreciate, not trying to be someone that they’re not. They are asking a lot of the right questions and being very attentive in meetings, and that’s all we can ask for.”
Will Skipper’s latest stint with the Steelers equate to a spot on the 53-man roster? Fans might forget, but Skipper actually landed a spot on the 53-man roster in 2019, but when he was released he didn’t clear waivers and the team couldn’t stash him on their practice squad. Instead, he was signed by the New York Giants, the same team who picked up 6th Round draft pick Quincy Roche last season when he didn’t make the team’s 53-man roster.
Hopefully Skipper learned, and improved, as he bounced around the league the past couple seasons, and is ready to put his stamp on the Steelers’ defense, even in just a backup role. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for mandatory minicamp this week.