The Steelers traded away edge rusher Melvin Ingram to the Chiefs on Tuesday. It leaves the team in a unique position with their depth at the position behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.
Ingram’s playing time had gone down as of late, playing just 26% of the snaps against the Seahawks. Despite that, he was a very good backup for the team and helped out when Highsmith and Watt got hurt early in the season. Cameron Heyward addressed losing Ingram.
”I wish he was here. I thought we had the making of a good defense with him included into it,” Heyward said Thursday via the team’s website. “But it doesn’t always work out that way.”
The Steelers’ defense did seem to start hitting their stride. Heyward knows the quality of a backup Ingram was for this team.
Meanwhile, Ingram’s hamstring injury suddenly (magically?) seems fully healed with the Chiefs. Now, it’s time for other guys to make the most of their opportunity.
“Luckily we got guys like Derrek Tuszka and Taco Charlton, who played pretty good this week. For his first game with us, I thought he [Charlton] played very well, using his hands in the run game. He’s going to continue to get better from here on out.”
Tuszka remains a bit of an unknown commodity. He’s got just 14 NFL games under his belt.
Charlton meanwhile played 10 snaps (17%) against the Browns in an impactful debut. The talent is obvious and he has the pass rushing ability to fill in Ingram’s void just fine.
The team seems particularly impressed with his run stopping ability as well. It’s clear the team has confidence in the guys stepping up.
”Taco’s got the unique range to play inside a little bit too. He’s got long arms, taller built.”
Charlton is listed at 6’6”, 270 lbs. on the team website, so Heyward certainly isn’t lying there. Coach Mike Tomlin talked about the team’s confidence in Charlton. It played a role in the team trading away Ingram.
Between Heyward, Tomlin, and a few other players this week, the team remains confident. The loss of Ingram is more of an opportunity for young guys rather than something to sit around on. We’ll find out in the coming weeks just how good guys like Charlton and Tuszka are.