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Isaiahh Loudermilk’s Performance ‘On The Upswing,’ Says Mike Tomlin

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive line has been crushed by injuries this season. No Stephon Tuitt. No Tyson Alualu. No Carlos Davis. It’s forced them to rely on a rag-tag group of names who weren’t counted on to play much if at all this season. And it’s certainly led that unit to struggle. But rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk has been an improving bright spot, showing why the Steelers made a then-criticized move (myself included) to trade into the fifth round for him.

During his weekly Tuesday press conference, Mike Tomlin praised Loudermilk’s play and noted he was in line to play more snaps before missing the Chargers game with a groin injury.

“He was in the process of [playing more]. If you look at his participation, I think it was consistently going up until he got hurt at practice the other day,” Tomlin told reporters earlier today. “He’s growing in all areas. He’s growing versus the run, he’s growing versus the pass.”

That growth has led his snap count to grow, too. Some of that has been by necessity given all the injuries, but his play has warranted an increase in snaps. Here’s how his snap percentage has looked over his last five games.

Week 5 – 15%
Week 6 – 12%
Week 8 – 25%
Week 9 – 19%
Week 10 – 35%

A little ebb and flow, but trending upward and leading to a season-high 35% in the tie against the Detroit Lions. According to our defensive charting notes posted on Saturday, the defense is allowing just 2.9 YPC when Loudermilk as on the field. That is a big, broad number that lacks a lot of context, but it’s an impressive number compared to the likes of Henry Mondeaux (7.2 YPC), Isaiah Buggs (5.8 YPC), and even Cam Heyward (4.3 YPC).

“His production is revealing that in all areas as well,” Tomlin said of Loudermilk’s improved play. “He’s applying pressure to the quarterback. He’s stacking the point. He’s a guy that’s on the upswing. Hopefully he can continue that when he gets back to us.”

Loudermilk missed Sunday night’s game due to a mid-week groin injury but Tomlin sounded optimistic he’ll return to practice this week in preparation of Week 12’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh could use all the help they can get. And Loudermilk could use the experience. A win/win that will hopefully propel Pittsburgh to a win.

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