PITTSBURGH — Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward has been getting his hands on the ball a lot this season.
The Steelers’ defensive captain has five passes defended this season, which is the most for a non-defensive back in the NFL.
But what big No. 97 really wants is to get and keep hands on the ball. Heyward has one fumble recovery this season. Heyward has never had two turnovers in a season in his entire NFL career.
He had one interception, in last season’s opener against the New York Giants, but was unable to secure a second takeaway in 2020. Heyward has recovered six fumbles in his career, one each in 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and against the Buffalo Bills in this year’s season opener.
Takeaways have been a theme for the Steelers defense when it comes to ways they can improve their play through five weeks. The Steelers as a team are averaging less than one takeaway per game, tied for 22nd in the NFL.
Friday at Steelers practice, Heyward and the rest of the defensive linemen — who are about the farthest thing from skill position players on the squad — nonetheless spent time working on scooping up fumbles and securing interceptions, in an effort to try to build up those numbers.