The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up fourteenth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
Intro: While Tuitt’s 2016 season was solid overall, he failed to equal his 2015 stat line in terms of total tackles and sacks. With that said, his overall pass rush productivity did improve slightly in 2016. He also forced two more fumbles in 2016 which is something he failed to do in 2015. He also was forced to sit out the final two games of the regular season with a knee sprain.
Current Strengths: Tuitt’s overall size, strength and ability to move effectively for such a big man are what makes him toughest to defense. He keeps his feet underneath him well in addition to keeping his shoulders square to the line against the run consistently. His long arms helps him also disengage quickly, another strength of his. He’s a reliable tackler and willingly chases after the football in all situations.
Current Weaknesses: Like most defensive linemen, Tuitt could stand to be more consistent with his leverage. Additionally, his hand use and placement immediately after the snap could also stand to be improved. An increased repertoire of pass moves moving forward will also help him become an even more productive pass rusher.
2017 Outlook: Tuitt is still only 24 years of age and thus he still has some room for growth as a player and especially when you consider that his rookie season was essentially his senior year in college because he came out early. A 2017 season similar to his 2015 season is expected with perhaps a few more quarterback pressures and run stops included. If all goes well and he remains healthy, Tuitt will likely play between 75-80% of all defensive snaps in 2017.
2017 Base Salary: $1,048,560
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $1,466,641
2017 Health Status: Limited during teams offseason program following hand/finger surgery but expected to be ready for training camp
2016 Health Status: Missed last two games of regular season with sprained knee
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 764 of 1,046
2016 Stat That Matters: 13 of Tuitt’s 22 total run stops last season came on 1st and 10 plays
|Ben Roethlisberger||Cameron Heyward||Jesse James||James Harrison||Antonio Brown|
|Ryan Shazier||Le’Veon Bell||Mike Mitchell||Sammie Coates||Ross Cockrell|
|Ramon Foster||William Gay||Maurkice Pouncey|