Highsmith Focused On Finishing Season Strong

T.J. Watt has gotten a majority of the publicity this season, and rightfully so with his record-breaking year. Beyond that though, Alex Highsmith has seemingly got lost in the shuffle.

Highsmith’s progression and improvement has gone unnoticed by many. His play has been rounding into form as of late, as he has three of his six sacks coming in the last two games. He talked about always wanting to finish the season strong, something he’s showing with his play on the field.

“I just always like to finish strong,” Highsmith said Friday via the team’s website. “I know I can always be better no matter how I play. And so, that’s something I feel like I’ve always tried to do at any point in my career is finish strong.”

Much like this season, Highsmith came on late last season. He hadn’t played more than 30% of the team’s defensive snaps before Week 13, and from then on, he played more than 80% of the snaps. Five of his six quarterback hits came in the last four weeks. In fact, his best game came in Week 17, where he had a sack and season-high in tackles with nine total.

The increase in playing time was obviously due to the fact that Bud Dupree went down with a season-ending injury, but he proved his worth in the last month of the season. So much so that the Steelers didn’t draft any competition at his position and trusted him with a starting spot.

“I’m looking forward to this game and the playoff scenario. If we make it, just to be able to finish strong in that aspect as well. I just want to continue to grow game by game. That’s something that I just wanna carry on into next year.”

The sacks in the last two games have been encouraging, but he’s been effective elsewhere as well. He had three tackles for loss in the win over the Browns.

With his continued improvement, the duo of he and T.J. Watt should only get better next season.

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