Updated: Sep 11
(Photo via Minkah Fitzpatrick's Instagram)
Let's start by saying the Steelers stole Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins last season. Kevin Colbert flashed his first-round pick and the Dolphins bit. To be honest it could be Colbert's best trade in Steelers' history. Minkah is heading into his second season with the Steelers and he is feeling extremely comfortable.
"This year is the total opposite end of the spectrum," said Fitzpatrick. "I didn't know the playbook very well last year. I didn't know my teammates very well. This year is a different story, total opposite. I had a whole season with my teammates, the playbook. It's a whole different situation. I am very comfortable in the scheme, with my teammates, coaches. I have been battled tested. Learning on the run, on the fly, they helped me a whole lot."
Fitzpatrick has been very vocal about communication with the Steelers as of late, "You can definitely measure it, the mistakes you make in the game are the mistakes you make in practice. If somebody moves pre-snap, we have to work on communicating again. This year I feel like we are way, way better at that. People can move all over the place and everybody is talking. Everybody is talking, everybody is confident out there."
He feels the defense is moving around a lot better than last season and everyone is being extremely vocal. That is dangerous considering how great the Steelers Defense was last season. Could the Steelers Defense be ranked in the top 3 this season when all is said and done? Of course. The scary part is they are loaded with Veterans too. Along with a hungry well-paid Cam Heyward who just signed a four-year contract totaling $71.4 million mega-contract. Even Cam says the job is not done.
Minkah continued, "You are not going to know exactly where you are at because there aren't live bullets out there, but you get a good feel of what you need to work on and what you don't."
Minkah says the defense is getting a good grasp on where everyone needs to be, but they won't figure this out until they have live action.
Fitzpatrick said today that the Steelers are preparing for the Giants by watching tape on the Cowboys during his Zoom call. Minkah did acknowledge that there is a little unknown going into the game with the Giants because they have a new coaching staff."It's been 50/50," Fitzpatrick said on a Zoom call Thursday.
"Jason Garrett was calling the plays at the Cowboys, and now he's OC in New York. We're watching stuff from last season and seasons before because coordinators like to run their systems," He said. "They had a young core last year in New York, so they're probably going to be able to adjust pretty well to the OC. But we also have to know what New York did well last year. We've got to know every single receiver. What their big plays were, how many times they were targeted on different types of routes."
Minkah finished his Zoom call by stating he is very confident in the Steelers' scheme and feels the defense is battle-tested.
"I had a whole offseason with my teammates. I had a whole season with my teammates and the playbook," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm very confident in the scheme. I'm very confident in my teammates. I'm very confident in my coaches. We've been battled tested."
How sweet it is to hear a top 5 Steelers defense head into the 2020 season "Battle Tested."