There’s a lot Stephon Tuitt knows he needs to work on this offseason. Plenty for this defense to improve over these next couple months. But above all, for him, Tuitt says he wants to work on the mental aspect of his game. That’s what he said in a sitdown with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews.
“My biggest thing I want to work on is the mental aspect of the game,” Tuitt told Matthews. “Continue to grow that. Continue to understand the knowledge of what the other team is trying to do…study film, study the opponent, study what hey like to do. Study what the coaches tendencies, study what the player’s tendencies are.”
Tuitt had an up-and-down season. Turn on the tape and he wasn’t a bad player but at the end of the day, he finished with just 5.5 sacks while playing in 14 games. He’s still chasing the 6.5 sack mark he set in his first year as a starter back in 2015. In 2016, he dipped down to four sacks while he played through a biceps injury last season, seeing action in just 12 games and finishing with a lousy three sacks.
Put it this way. He shares the same number of career sacks as Bud Dupree, 20 apiece, despite having 19 more career starts.
He also suggested the defense as a whole must show more consistency and play to its high watershed? moments, like turning away Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 15.
“I think we just got to be more consistent. I think we’re a really awesome team. I think we’re one of the better teams actually, too. I think we just have to be more consistent. To be able to form that, we have to create that outside of the game. In every day life. The things we do in practice, in studying film, in having the confidence in knowing in and out we can do the same thing week in and week out.”
Tuitt showed more consistency as the season progressed. While it took him until mid-October to record his first sack, he notched at least half-a-takedown in six of his last nine games. But he’s getting paid on a similar level as teammates Cam Heyward and his production has to march closer to that level. That doesn’t have to mean a double-digit sack season but it’s fair to expect and demand him to have a career year in 2019, setting a new high in that category.