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Minkah Fitzpatrick just wants to get back to playing his style of football

When the Pittsburgh Steelers made waves in 2019, sending a 1st Round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick, the fan base was curious as to what they were getting in the former Alabama defensive back.

If you wanted to sum it up in one word, it would be dynamic.

Fitzpatrick wasted little time making an impact on the defense, and continued throughout his early tenure in Pittsburgh. During this time he earned both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, but the past two seasons have seen Fitzpatrick playing more in the box compared to his play-making style in the back half of the secondary.

The change in Fitzpatrick’s usage started when the team parted ways with Terrell Edmunds and brought in Damontae Kazee. Last season Fitzpatrick had arguably one of his worst seasons, marred with multiple injuries. So, what needs to happen to get Fitzpatrick back to his All-Pro self?

“Just let me play ball,” said Fitzpatrick after an OTA session last week.

“That’s it. Minkah ball.”

Sounds simple enough, but do the Steelers have the players on the roster to allow Fitzpatrick to not have to play near the line of scrimmage? The signing of DeShon Elliott will certainly help, but Fitzpatrick sees it not as a one-for-one proposition, but getting as many quality players on the field as possible.

“As many great players as you could get in the field is going to help Minkah play Minkah ball,” said Fitzpatrick.

Ultimately, there are a lot of moving parts with the 2024 Steelers defense, both in the coaching staff and on the roster. It emphasizes the importance of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp this week.

“I think it’s important when you have a lot of new faces in the building, and this year we have a lot of new faces, not just players but staff,” said Fitzpatrick of his early arrival. “You want to start forming relationships early to make sure everybody’s on the same page. If I came in now and they were teaching stuff that wasn’t exactly what I was taught, I’d be playing catch up. I’m not big on doing that. I like being on the same page.”

The next step in the Steelers offseason process is mandatory minicamp this week, and it will be the last time the team has a collective meeting until they report to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in July. The hope is in 2024 the Steelers defense isn’t just dynamic, but Minkah Fitzpatrick is the player making plays like he was in his All-Pro seasons with the team.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason.


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