Study: How Does Derrek Tuszka Win On Third Down?

Carrying over a brief study I did last offseason and applying to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ EDGE rushers for this offseason. Last year, we broke down Alex Highsmith’s pass rush moves and wins on third and fourth down, the key money downs pass rushers make a living off of.

We’ll look at Highsmith’s 2021 figures soon but I wanted to look at all the team’s returning EDGE rushers. So we’ll work our way from the bottom with Derrek Tuszka, a rotational rusher who saw more playing time later in the year. We’ll break down the type of pass rush move he used, his attempts, wins, and show it as a percentage. Again, this is just for third and fourth down, not all downs.

Tuszka had 28 third/fourth down rushes for the Steelers last year. Here is what he did on each of those moves and how often he won.

Pass Rush Move Rush Attempts Rush Wins Rush Win %
Bull 10 1 10%
Rip 6 0 0%
Stunt (Crasher) 5 0 0%
Off-Ball/Interior 2 0 0%
Chop 2 1 50%
Spin 1 0 0%
Swipe 1 1 100%
RPO/Screen (No Data) 1 N/A N/A


With 28 rushes, and really only 20 when you exclude stunts, interior/off-ball work, and the lone screen, the sample size here is small so it’s hard to draw a lot of hard conclusions. But the success overall is fleeting. His wins came once on a bull, once on a chop, and once on a swipe. The chop and swipe were successful when he did it opposed to the bull.

His favorite moves were bull and rip but neither were effective overall. He lacks the get-off and strength to beat the block or rip through it, though he shows some ability to bend the edge.

I did take it another step and looked up the other pressures he had on non-third/fourth downs, just to see where he was successful. Only three other pressures so this only took a few minutes to find. Once, he got pressure against Joe Burrow as the free rusher on a boot. On the other two against the Titans and Browns, he ripped around the edge for the pressure, including one sack. So rip might be his best move.

Overall, it’s hard to learn a lot here. Tuszka lacks power so his bull rush is pretty ineffective. He’s best when he tries to win the edge to the outside with rips. He should refine his strike and lean on his chop and swipe more, perhaps to knock the tackle’s hands down and then try to rip through him. Overall, he’s best suited as a #4 and special teamer than someone seeing regular defensive snaps.

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