PITTSBURGH — A day after the Steelers reportedly lost Tyson Alualu for the season due to a fractured ankle, the Steelers are still reeling to try and find some semblance of health in their defensive line room. With no Alualu and Stephon Tuitt still out, it leaves Cam Heyward and Chris Wormley as the true vets.
However, they do have some intriguing young pieces in Carlos Davis, Isaiah Buggs, Isaiahh Loudermilk and Henry Mondeaux, who could potentially help fill that role. It is something that Wormley is confident they can do.
“We have younger guys like Carlos [Davis] and [Isaiahh] Loudermilk that we’re excited to get in the mix,” Wormley said. “[Isaiah] Buggs has been around a while, but we all need to step up. Whenever Tyson comes back, we’re gonna welcome him with open arms. But until then, it is gonna be a bigger load on the younger guys.”
When talking about those younger guys, Wormley is especially looking forward to seeing what Davis can bring to the table. Davis missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury. The severity of that injury is unknown, but he could be a guy who can step in and potentially start at nose tackle. Wormley is especially impressed by the skillset that Davis brings to the table.
“I think he’s just a more confident player himself,” Wormley said. “Obviously, in your rookie year, you’re dealing with things other than football. You need to learn a new city, a new league. He went from being a big dog at Nebraska to being a rookie in the league. So, I think he was learning and getting comfortable with life in general. You can see now he’s more comfortable and more confident. His get-off is ridiculous, and his pass-rush skills have only increased this year. So, I’m excited to see him get some sacks this year and get some pressure on the quarterback with God-gifted talents.”
In a similar vein, Wormley is ready to see what Buggs has to bring to the table as well. While he was dinged a bit during the game, Buggs has experience replacing Alualu, doing so against the Ravens last season. As such, he is going to have the expectation of being ready to go right away.
“I think Buggs understands his role a little more,” Wormley said. “He just understands the defense more in general. When he is in there, he can disrupt some things in the middle from that nose position. He can plug up holes and push the lineman back to make the running backs bounce in those situations. He’s gotten better with his pass rush as well. I’m just excited for all these young guys, myself included, to take that next step into filling in for Tyson and Tuitt.”
Whether the Steelers defense can continue to play at a high level remains to be seen, but Wormley certainly seems to have confidence in the defensive lineman behind him. That can only mean so much, but it is a good sign at the very least as they try to make up for two key absences.