PITTSBURGH — Through two games, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of nine NFL teams that don’t have an interception.
They’d like it an awful lot if that changed this Sunday when they visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
The team traded its 2020 first-round draft pick this week to add talented defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, and while the Alabama grad has played all over the secondary, the Steelers plan for this Sunday is to use him solely at free safety.
That’s partially an acknowledgement of the time that it’s going to take Fitzpatrick to get up to speed on all aspects of the notoriously complex Pittsburgh defense. But it’s also giving one of the team’s elite playmakers the ability to be a ballhawk in the middle of the field.
Also, the presence of Fitzpatrick, along with Joe Haden, who was photographed below practicing on Friday after missing the first two days this week, Steven Nelson and Terrell Edmunds gives the Steelers a starting four across the defensive backfield without any obvious holes.
At practice on Friday, the Steelers’ defensive backs were working on their hands, as they’ve done since the very beginning of OTAs.
They defensive backs aren’t the only ones that want to get their hands on the football, either. Here, head coach Mike Tomlin and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar work with the biggest Steelers defenders on making plays on the football.