Stephon Tuitt is having the best year of his career. But the great ones always want more. Count Tuitt as part of that club.
Although he’s tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks through the first five weeks, Tuitt wants more.
“I’m kinda pissed at myself,” Tuitt told Missi Matthews in a recent interview. “I left two out there. They’re not in chase mode anymore. They’re tied up with me.”
After taking an early-season lead thanks to a pair of sacks against the Seattle Seahawks, he’s now knotted up with Cam Heyward for most on the team. One of those misses Tuitt’s referencing came in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore. He beat Marshal Yanda clean off the line but couldn’t take Lamar Jackson down in space.
Wish Stephon Tuitt would've been able to finish the play and record the sack but it's rare to see Marshal Yanda get beat *this* bad. Tuitt's raised his game to a whole new level. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/uMfFOdIbmJ
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) October 8, 2019
Overall, Tuitt’s solved his biggest issue since breaking into the NFL: finishing plays. He sits atop the NFL leaderboard in tackles at the line/for a loss, finally having that dominant season everyone knew he was capable of. Well on his way to set a career high in sacks, he still took the time to recognized all the talent which surrounds him.
“TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, Bud Dupree, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, all of those guys coming along. [Devin] Bush in the back.”
Collectively, the Steelers have 19 sacks this season, third most in football. No team has taken down the QB over the last year things as often as Pittsburgh. Over that span, they have 127. Second place? The Chicago Bears with 109, a full 18 behind.
With the secondary capitalizing on their chances, the Steelers have their first imposing defense of the decade. For Tuitt’s, that’s the number one goal.
“My role when I go into a game is to create as much chaos and disruption as possible. I’ve always been doing that since I’ve been here. It’s nice to get a little acknowledgment from it but I really don’t care. I’d rather get some wins. That’d be better.”
So far, mission accomplished.
Unfortunately, while Tuitt and Heyward are here for the long-haul, the man between them is likely in his last year with the team. Javon Hargrave’s set to hit free agency and certainly to cash in on a mega payday. Tuitt praised the job he’s done.
“Super underrated. That guys is very good. He’s got built in leverage, you can tell. He’s everything you want in a nose tackle, one-technique spot. He’s doing a great job. He’s just trucking along.”