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Steelers Promote Montravius Adams over Tyson Alualu at Nose Tackle on Depth Chart

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Steelers NT Tyson Alualu

The Pittsburgh Steelers have moved Montravius Adams Sr. ahead of Tyson Alualu as their starter at nose tackle on the depth chart for the team’s Week 4 game against the New York Jets.

Alualu had been the team’s top nose tackle in the base 3-4 defense through the first four weeks, starting the losses to the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. Alualu also serves as a rotational backup to tackles Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi in the 4-2 Nickel and 4-1 Dime units.

Through three games, Alualu has played 104 snaps of defense, 27 as a nose tackle and 76 as a defensive tackle. He has made four tackles and missed one, and has one quarterback hit and three hurries.

Adams has served as Alualu’s backup in the base defense and also as a rotational four-man front tackle. He has played in all three games, seeing action on 16 snaps as a nose tackle and 15 snaps as a defensive tackle. He has two tackles and a pass defended.

The Steelers don’t play all that much base defense, as most teams use a three-wide receiver offense, so if Adams is only replacing Alualu at the nose, it’s a fairly minor change. If that depth chart — which shows only the base defense, not the Nickel or Dime — also indicates Adams has passed Alualu in other areas, that could be significant. Head coach Mike Tomlin is expected to speak with the media at noon.

Alualu, 35, is in his sixth season with the Steelers. He started out as a defensive end in the base defense, working as a rotational player and fill-in starter from 2017-19. In 2020, after the departure of Javon Hargrave through free agency, Alualu made the shift inside to nose tackle and became a starter, making 10 starts in 2020.

Last year, he was lost for the season to a broken ankle in the second game. The Steelers struggled to replace the absences of Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, who sat out last season before ultimately retiring.

Adams, 27, was one of their few successes the team tried as they plugged that hole. The Steelers signed Adams from the New Orleans Saints practice squad on Nov. 30 and he played in the final five games of the season, making four starts. The Steelers re-signed him to a one-year contract for 2022.

Alualu’s contract also expires at the end of the season, and the Steelers do not seem to have much waiting in the wings as far as interior linemen. Ogunjobi and veteran backup Chris Wormley are also entering the final seasons of their contracts. Second-year player Isaiahh Loudermilk has been a healthy scratch through three games and rookie DeMarvin Leal has trended toward playing more outside the guard than inside.

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