(Photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/Getty Images)
Yesterday was the second anniversary since the Steelers traded a first-round pick to the Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick. And the rare move by the organization has paid off tremendously, as Fitzpatrick was named first-team All-Pro the last two seasons, and he's without a doubt one of the best safeties in the league.
In his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick predominantly lined up at free safety, but the Steelers are now starting to move him around a little more. And that was apparent in Sunday's win over Buffalo.
Rookie defensive back Tre Norwood went back to free safety when the Steelers were in their dime package, while Fitzpatrick moved up in the six-defensive backs dime look.
"Troy (Polamalu) did the same thing," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said prior to Thursday's practice via Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com. "He moved around a little bit."
However, Butler did say that Fitzpatrick doesn't have the freedom to roam around like Polamalu did, at least not yet.
Butler also noted that Fitzpatrick had a "Troy-like" play against the Bills on Sunday when he tackled running back Matt Breida 1 yard short of the first-down marker on third-and-3. And then, on the next play, the Bills went for it on fourth-and-1 and Cam Sutton tackled Breida in the backfield for a 7-yard loss.
T.J. Watt said after the game on Sunday that Fitzpatrick was coming down like a "missile" when he tackled Breida. Just watch Fitzpatrick fill the gap in the video below. ... It indeed was very Troy-esque.
Joe Haden was asked about Butler mentioning Fitzpatrick in the same breath as a Hall of Famer like Polamalu. And Haden said that he sees some similar qualities between the two.
“Troy, he’s Hall of Fame, but if there’s a player you can compare him to, I like Minkah,” Haden said Thursday. “I’ve heard Troy’s not too much of a talker. He didn’t say too much, just let his ball speak for himself.
“Then, at the same time, just always wanting to be the best. Minkah prepares as if he’s not even on the team. … I didn’t get to play with Troy, but I can see from the player in Minkah, that’s kind of the same person.”