It was mentioned throughout the summer and into training camp that after the Steelers signed DL Larry Ogunjobi this offseason that they were going to take things slow with him to start camp. GM Omar Khan just mentioned a couple of days ago that the team was going to be smart with him and his ramp-up period back to action after coming off a Lisfranc injury suffered in the Cincinnati Bengals’ playoff win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Still, Khan made it known that the team was confident in Ogunjobi’s availability come the regular season when Pittsburgh takes on the Cincinnati Bengals on September 11, creating a grudge match with Ogunjobi’s former team.
On Monday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium, Ogunjobi got his first taste of action in team sessions.
After practice concluded, when the media asked HC Mike Tomlin about his impressions of Ogunjobi’s first action in live reps with the defense against the offense, Tomlin chuckled, attempting to hold back his apparent excitement of having the talented defensive lineman suiting up for his team in 2022.
“Didn’t take long for his presence to be felt,” Tomlin responded in a video at Steelers.com “He’s a big man. He comes off blocks. We’re glad to have him out there and we look forward to him just getting better and better.”
After Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement this summer, Pittsburgh had a noticeable hole along the defensive line in terms of proven production and experience. The team just drafted DeMarvin Leal in the third round and still had Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, and Montravius Adams to go along with Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu, but given the loss of Tuitt’s pass rush production as well as his ability to stop the run, signing Ogunjobi made a lot of sense for a defensive line that experienced turmoil in 2021.
Ogunjobi brings the skill set of playing up and down the LOS from a variety of different spots and is coming off his best season to-date as a pass rusher, where he racked up seven sacks for the division-rival Bengals. DL Coach Karl Dunbar has called Ogunjobi a fine pass rusher that also is a good run defender, adding the talent and skillset to make things difficult for opposing offensive lines when paired with Heyward, T.J. Watt, and Alex Highsmith along the defensive front.
Ogunjobi still needs to make it through the rest of training camp and the preseason healthy, having no setbacks with his foot, to contribute as he is expected this season for Pittsburgh. However, today was a step in the right direction for Ogunjobi and a Steelers’ defensive line looking to bounce back in a big way this season.