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Massive Steelers NT Could be Solution to Struggling Run Defense



Steelers Breiden Fehoko
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko at training camp, Aug. 17, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers run defense looks porous. In three of the team’s four games, they have consistently struggled to stop the run. However, there could be a solution waiting for Pittsburgh in a player who is currently sitting on the bench. Nose tackle Breiden Fehoko came over from the Chargers in the offseason and could be the solution Pittsburgh is looking for to their run defense woes.

One of the most straightforward changes for the Steelers is to get their big, run-plugging nose tackle Fehoko into the lineup. He has yet to dress for a gap, yet the team struggles from all angles in run defense. There’s more on the run defense and how to fix it later, but while Fehoko’s main attraction is his run defense, the Steelers have mainly struggled in that area. He will not give Pittsburgh the pass-rush juice that someone like Montravius Adams or Armon Watts will give, but the group needs someone up front who can make a big difference in the run game. Fehoko has proven he can do that already with the Chargers last year.

Last year, after being elevated from the Chargers practice squad, Fehoko came onto the team in Week 10 to help boost their run defense. It marked a change for the Chargers that allowed the team to considerably slow down teams they faced in the run game, even if Fehoko does not offer a ton in the pass rush part of his game. To say the least, this is overdue.

His run defense shined in training camp, and the team looked to have a plan for him once he was elevated to the main roster, but he has yet to play. With DeMarvin Leal suffering from a concussion this week, Fehoko may play just due to a lack of bodies up front, but he should have a spot in the lineup regardless.