Even while the defensive coordinator has changed, some things will remain the same within the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense. One aspect that they like to emphasize up front is executing twists and stunts as part of their numerous pressure and blitz packages, which is something all teams dabble in to one extent or another.
So every time a new player is brought in, be it a draft pick or a free agent, the question is whether or not they are going to fit the Steelers’ system and the manner in which they like to run things on defense. Cameron Heyward was asked, for example, about Melvin Ingram’s fit in their twist-heavy front.
“We’ve always run a lot of twists here. I don’t think it really changes as he comes, it only enhances”, he told reporters last week. “To add another guy to Alex and T.J.’s twist capabilities, I think it’s just, there’s no let-off. Melvin’s a really seasoned guy. I remember running twists with him in the Pro Bowl. He knows the game. He’s seen a lot. So it’s not like he has to play that much catch-up”.
They may have never been on the same team together—Ingram was drafted by the Chargers and has only ever played for them, while Heyward was only ever a Steeler—as he mentioned, the two did get to know one another during some Pro Bowl appearances, and even worked on the field together.
As far as Ingram’s concerned, though, he’s not overly preoccupied with what he’ll be doing and where. He just wants to go. “I’m just out there doing what they tell me to do. It ain’t just me standing, doing all that stuff”, he said when he was asked about being seen lining over the interior gaps in practice. “It’s all outside backers. I’m just being part of the D. I’m just doing what they ask me”.
His Chargers tape shows a player who can move around the field, both before and after the snap, lining up over the middle, or stunting inside, or asking as the crasher. This very much fits in with what Pittsburgh is looking for, as does his attitude about where he likes to play. “Everywhere”, he said about his preferences. “Everywhere. I like to go everywhere. It don’t matter where. As long as I’m on the field, I’m good”.
The Ingram signing was a move made in response to the loss of Bud Dupree in free agency. Though they have Alex Highsmith as a second-year player ready to step up into the starting lineup, the Steelers wanted to make sure they cover their bases by securing a valuable third option. On paper, and so far on the practice field, it seems like Ingram is a great fit.