As Mike Tomlin would point out in today’s presser, the focus has been on the return of Ladarius Green and Bud Dupree. But don’t forget to throw Roosevelt Nix into that category either. His impact has been just as noticeable.
And Tomlin was more than happy to explain how he has helped the Pittsburgh Steelers not only on offense but on special teams.
“Man, I don’t know how long Rosie was out but Rosie was out an extended period of time and he’s been back now for a decent amount of time,” Tomlin told reporters during yesterday’s press conference.
“And over that time, we’ve seen consistent increase in his level of play not only on offense and special teams. He’s solidified himself as a solid special teams contributor a year ago so it’s good to see him back to that level of production he was last week.”
Nix made two tackles on kick returns against the Buffalo Bills. One put the Bills at their 16, the other at their 14. Both of those drives, with a long field, ended in punts.
His value has heightened without Darrius Heyward-Bey and Shamarko Thomas, two other core special teamers who have missed several weeks with injury.
Remember, that’s how Nix earned his keep. He was once a longshot, an afterthought, by yours truly too, but carved out a role on special teams that was so significant the Steelers decided to keep two fullbacks. And by mid-season, he had beaten out Will Johnson as the starting fullback; a more traditional type, a capable lead blocker with passable hands to expel the more hybrid incumbent.
Sunday, it was his contribution on offense that put him on the map, clearing lane after lane for Le’Veon Bell en route to the back’s historic day. And why he’ll be a niche but key cog to the Steelers in the final three weeks.