At this point in the Melvin Ingram-Steelers marriage, things could not be going better.
Sure, the Steelers are dealing with injuries to T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith at the outside linebacker position that has thrown the three-headed monster rotation into flux, forcing Ingram to play 111 total snaps through three games. That hasn’t quite mattered though as Ingram has been as good as the back of his football card advertised, making an immediate impact in Pittsburgh.
The marriage has been great off the field too as Ingram has worked well with Watt, Highsmith and second-year pro Jamir Jones, creating a formidable group at outside linebacker in the Steel City.
With his experience and pedigree, Ingram has been able to help mentor (per se) Watt, helping him continue to develop his pass rush repertoire, while also being able to pick up a few tricks along the way.
Watt has certainly loved the pairing with Ingram in the outside linebacker room, calling Ingram a breath of fresh air.
“Yeah, it’s been awesome,” Watt said to reporters Sept. 17 according to Steelers.com. “Just to have a guy who’s a Pro Bowler who’s known for his pass rush in the room and he has a lot of great drills that he’s taught me. And uh, just little things that. Once you’re around the same group of guys for an extended amount of time, you kinda, I don’t want to say you’re lackadaisical, but you get used to what you’re seeing. And when you get a new guy in here, especially of his caliber, he can say, ‘Hey, you’re doing this with your hands, try something else.’ And it’s really been a breath of fresh air to have him. And he looks great. I mean, super competitive guy. And I’ve learned a lot from him in a short amount of time we’ve been together.”
On Friday, in a one-on-one sit-down with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, Ingram echoed Watt’s comments, stating that the two pick each other’s brains, making each other better in the process.
“Everything. I feel like we kind of pick each other brain about everything,” Ingram said to Matthews via Steelers.com. “It’s always good. When you got a player of that caliber that you’re gonna talk to and just learn stuff from it. It was just yesterday, I was asking him about a move. Just something that he does. And it’s like, it’s always a blessing really to have somebody in the same room as you, that you can always just, just pick each other’s brain about everything when it comes to pass rushing.”
Though it’s certainly not on par with the pairing of LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, or Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd, let along Joey Porter and Jason Gildon, the duo of Watt and Ingram has the chance to truly be game-changing throughout the 2021 season, especially once Highsmith gets fully healthy, turning the Steelers’ outside linebackers room into that three-headed monster once again.