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Tyson Alualu Talks Increased Preparation Heading Into Year 13

On Cam Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast, Tyson Alualu talked about what he wants to improve on heading into this year after missing most of last season.

“I think everything, I think you always gotta improve your game, no matter if you’re in year one or year 13. There’s always so much to learn from this game and still a lot that I still gotta learn. So I think just being away from the game, it taught me a lot about the preparation that goes into being a top player. So I guess sitting back and looking at, looking from the game from a different perspective made me think about the preparation that I gotta do to prepare to get back, first get healthy and then right. All the mental aspects of the game that I gotta add to my game,” Alualu said.

It’s good to see Alualu wants to continue working on different parts of his game and adding elements to his preparation. Some guys can get complacent when they’ve been in the league a long time and just do what they’ve always done, but that’s not the case with Alualu. 

It’s also interesting to hear him talk about how his injury helped him see the game from a different angle. I’m sure when a player is in the middle of a season, there isn’t a lot of time to reflect on how everyone else is going about their business. When the focus is on rehabbing and you aren’t playing week-to-week, it makes it possible to see what everyone else is doing to prepare and get ready for a game. Being able to watch his teammates prepare surely helped Alualu become more aware of what it’s going to take to become one of the best players at his position.

That’s also not to say that he isn’t already. Since taking on a larger role, Alualu has been really solid for the Steelers. He plays his position really well, and I firmly believe that his absence last season had a lot to do with the run defense being as bad as it was. His return should be a huge boost for Pittsburgh’s defense, and hopefully, his increased preparation and improvement make him even more of an asset to the team. 

I’m interested to see how much Alualu plays. In 2020, he was on the field for 47% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps, and now that the team brought in Larry Ogunjobi, that number could go down this year. It’s no secret that Alualu is getting up there in age, so keeping him fresh will be important. If the Steelers are able to find a good playing time balance between Ogunjobi and Alualu, the interior defensive line could be a major strength. 

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