It’s been a while since the Pittsburgh Steelers have had much stability at the safety position. I imagine they are hoping to have finally found that, for at least the next few years, with the pair of young safeties they have now in Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, of course, was a late addition, acquired via trade in-season. The Steelers control both of them for at least the next three seasons via the fifth-year option, should they choose to exercise them when the time comes.
When the season started, Sean Davis was the starting free safety of course. In his fourth season with the team since being drafted in the second round in 2016, he was in a contract year, and it wasn’t clear if he would be playing for the Steelers or for the other 31 teams. He didn’t really get the chance due to injury, so after three games, Edmunds found himself starting with three different safeties.
Kameron Kelly started the opener for Davis due to injury. David returned for game two, but got injured, and Fitzpatrick was here for game three. That is when their chemistry began to develop. He told to Missi Matthews about the whole process.
“Sean, with him last year, that was just a good year, coming into my rookie year, learning how to actually become a professional, and he taught me a whole lot”, he said of Davis’ influence. “Now with another guy that I trained with and went through the process with in Minkah, it was a different environment, but definitely it was great having both of them”.
In terms of how they developed their on-field relationship, he said that it was just about communicating with each other as much as possible. “We’re roommates in the hotel, so we just talk and try to figure out how each other sees different things, pretty much just see how we really think, and from there we got a little better with each other. We learned how to communicate better”, he said.
“Just talk as much as we can. I figure out how he plays, he figures out how I play”, he added. “How to play to each other’s strengths. He played more in the post, I play more down in the box, and really, that was best for both of us”.
The Steelers developed one of the best defensive backfields once Fitzpatrick arrived, but many would argue that Edmunds was the weak link, the only one without a turnover, for example. He also had a high number of missed tackles and penalties in his second season as a 2018 first-round draft pick.
He knows as well as anyone that he is still a developing player who must be better (he is still 22). Hopefully with some stability from year to year (even as a rookie, Morgan Burnett was supposed to start), he can get some structure and begin to build on it.