PITTSBURGH — The Steelers shook some feathers when the week four depth chart was released and it was Montravius Adams, not Tyson Alualu, who was listed as the starting nose tackle. Alualu, who is coming off season-ending ankle surgery in 2021, is 35 and was expected to be a bastion on the Steelers’ defensive front.
To this point, that simply has not been the case. When Adams is on the field, the Steelers have found some success, even if in a smaller sample size. When pressed about the reasoning behind Adams’ elevation, Mike Tomlin simply said it was about Adams playing better.
“He’s been playing better than Tyson [Alualu], so we just thought that was appropriate,” Tomlin said.
Adams joined the Steelers midway through the 2021 season after the defensive line became battered with injuries up and down the depth chart. He flashed and was rewarded with a new contract to return to Pittsburgh. He missed nearly all of training camp with a nagging ankle injury, but was able to return prior to the team’s game in Cincinnati.
Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin likes the traits that Adams brings to the table. While Adams is not the grizzled over decade-long veteran that Alualu is in experience, he makes up for that with his natural explosiveness and hot motor day in and day out.
“But I think when you look at Montravius, he’s very active, very quick, and that’s a little different component in there,” Austin said. “So, I really like that about his game. We got him in the middle of the year last year, and so now he’s kind of really in our system and really understands. You can kind of see the growth in him as a player.”
Adams, who has been in the NFL since 2017, has never formally been listed as the starter on any depth chart, although he started four games for the Steelers. Now, with a chance to firmly entrench himself as the long-term starter, Adams is hoping to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from the Steelers.
“It’s definitely a blessing,” Adams said. “I’ve been working a long time for this chance. But here in Pittsburgh, I don’t think it’ll be a big difference. We do a hell of a job on our rotation, all praise to (Karl) Dunbar. As long as we’ve got guys that are fresh and ready to play, we should be pretty good.”
There will still be an adjustment period for Adams, who has only played thirty snaps thus far on the season. However, the Steelers hope they can get some of the juice they got out of him last season once again as they try to solve their issues up front.