Despite his unfortunate fumble in the Pittsburgh Steelers Divisional Round playoff loss to the Denver Broncos last season, backup running back Fitzgerald Toussaint did manage to show some promise when asked to help fill in at the position after veteran DeAngelo Williams was lost for the post season with a foot injury that suffered in the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns.
Toussaint not only managed to compile 201 total yards from scrimmage after being promoted to the Steelers 53-masn roster from the team’s practice squad, he also did an admirable job when the football wasn’t in his hands as he proved to be an above-average pass protector as well. In a recent interview with Teresa Varley of steelers.com, Toussaint talked about how he takes that portion of his game seriously.
“The most important thing is pass blocking,” Toussaint told Varley. “I have to protect the quarterback. If you can protect the quarterback, you can do anything. I feel like that is my cup of tea right there. I love it. I love one-on-ones. I love going against linebackers. That is what I like to do.
“Protecting the quarterback, that is the guy that runs the offense, the guy that organizes everything, the guy that puts you in the right place. Once he is protected, he can make the proper throws. I can help set that up and set things up for the run.”
Late last season, our very own Matthew Marczi did a breakdown of Toussaint’s pass protection in the game against the Browns and he highlighted how effective he was in that area of his game.
While the Steelers could ultimately wind up drafting another running back this year, if that winds up being the case, one could speculate that it would happen in the later rounds. In other words, Toussaint’s experience as both a ball carrier and a pass protector should give him the upper hand when it comes to beating out a late-round draft pick for a spot on this year’s 53-man roster.
With all of the above said, Toussaint is far from being considered a lock to make the Steelers final roster this year as the No. 3 running back. This offseason he’ll not only need to show that he can hold on to the football in addition to perfecting his pass protection skills, he’ll also need to show special team coordinator Danny Smith that he can play on several of his units.