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Mike Tomlin Praises Tyrann Mathieu’s Versatility Ahead of Steelers-Saints Matchup

Ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 10 matchup with the New Orleans Saints, Head Coach Mike Tomlin had praise for Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, one of the best defensive players in football. The 10-year vet is in his first season with the Saints after spending the previous three years with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he won a Super Bowl in 2019. Tomlin praised Mathieu’s versatility and ability to impact the game in different ways on the most recent episode of the Mike Tomlin Show via the team’s YouTube channel.

“Honey Badger is a really good football player. He’s always been versatile, versatility has always been his calling card,” Tomlin said. “You’ll see him at safety in deep defense, you’ll see him down in the box as a down safety, you’ll see him play in the nickel some. He’s always been a top-quality blitzer, he’s just a really good football player and you see why they acquired him.”

Mathieu is a three-time All Pro and Pro Bowler, and in New Orleans he’s filling a safety role that was vacated when Marcus Williams signed with the Baltimore Ravens. In his first year in the Big Easy, he has 43 tackles and two interceptions, in addition to a hit on the quarterback. He’s a guy that Pittsburgh is going to have to watch out for and keep an eye on where he is at all times.

The Saints might try to get creative in their usage with Mathieu and line him up in different areas throughout the game as Tomlin said they’ve done before in order to confuse a rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett. Pickett is going to need to identify Mathieu pre-snap and make sure the veteran can’t prey on any potential rookie mistakes.

Sunday is a very winnable game for the Steelers, with the Saints coming in at 3-6 with an offense that looks lackluster. It’s going to be a gritty, ugly, defensive game and those types of games are usually won by forcing turnovers and not turning the ball over. If Mathieu is able to bait Pickett and create a takeaway or two, the game will become a whole lot less winnable.

Pittsburgh has to focus on not turning the ball over and moving the chains and let their defense (which is with outside linebacker T.J. Watt but without safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on Sunday), try and create some splash plays and turnovers and keep the Saints off the board. If the Saints are able to turn the Steelers over more than once, I don’t like Pittsburgh’s odds to win, and a big way to avoid that is not letting Mathieu better you.

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