Steelers Rookie DE Stephon Tuitt Thrives On Pressure To Become Next Aaron Smith

Early last week, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell said rookie defensive end Stephon Tuitt reminds him some of a young Aaron Smith. Tuitt was asked Wednesday about that comparison and he said he knows all about Smith and what he meant to the Steelers organization.

“Since I got here, I got a chance to see who wore this number before me and the person who wore this number before me was a great player for the Steeler Nation,” said Tuitt, who signed his rookie contract on Wednesday. “I have a lot of shoes to fill in that boat and with that comes a great opportunity to become the best and that’s somebody who I look up to as well.”

Being compared to Smith this early in his career is certainly quite a bit of pressure to put on a young Steelers defensive end, but Tuitt welcomes it.

“I love pressure. I thrive off of that,” he said.

Despite playing up and down the line in the Notre Dame 3-4 defense during his college career, Tuitt admits that digesting the Steelers defensive playbook so far hasn’t been at all smooth.

“Its rocky, but I’ve been in the system for a couple of weeks and I’m understanding my role and understanding the system.”

Tuitt went on to say that while learning to play defensive end in the Steelers defense isn’t necessarily hard, he has to make sure that he’s consistent along with being tough and physical. With that said, he knows he’s got a great position coach in Mitchell.

“You can see why he developed great defensive linemen here, because he’s very hard-nosed and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes down to the defensive line in this system,” he said.

  • steelster

    I think he will be better than Aaron Smith.

  • srdan

    Thats a tall order.

  • ApexSteel

    That’s good to hear, but we’re going to need someone to step up. I don’t have a subscription to steelcityinsider, but I’m hoping that Jim Wexell’s report on the DEs having “no idea what they’re doing” is overstated.

  • Matt Manzo

    Jeez! I’d like to hear more about that! I hate subscriptions, and passwords!!!

  • Madi

    Love it. Some people really perform their best under pressure. Pour it on!

  • dgh57

    Saw a gif today of Tuitt taking on a double team and shedding one of them to make the tackle on the RB. Another where a pulling OG tried to block him but it was like him running into a brick wall when he fell backwards. He looked strong in both so it was at least encouraging to see this and what may be ahead for us to see!

  • joed32

    Where did you see it? We would like to see it too.

  • steeltown

    He’s a pot stirrer

  • dgh57

    Behind the Steel Curtain dot com.

  • Ike Evans

    I dont know about him being better then aaron smith, but if he can start making an impact this year or next i’d be ecstatic

  • Weiss Chad

    Wow!!I hope you’re right..I’d be ecstatic with another Cameron Heyward .Another Aaron Smith I’d be doing cart wheels.I will say this,it was as unanimous as I have ever seen,the amount of steeler fans mocking this kid to the steelers whether it be a trade back or in second round.He just seems like he fits the steelers mold.How can that many die hards be wrong?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    To me the biggest deal about Tuitt is that he has the physical ability to actually back up his words and perform at the NFL level.

    He is a mountain of a man. He uses his frame well. He does a good job of staying on his feet. A good job of shedding blocks. He is very strong with very long arms. And he runs well.

    Those are things you can’t teach. (We couldn’t teach Ziggy that.) It’s one thing for fans to get excited. It’s another thing for John Mitchell to get excited. He doesn’t give out praise easily. And he LOVES Tuitt.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Being a young Aaron Smith is a lot of pressure to put on him but i’ve never heard Coach Mitchell talk about a rookie like he did with Tuitt.

  • steelant

    already better than ziggy HOOD

  • joed32

    Thanks for the reply, I didn’t realize that you were talking about a clip from last year. My bad!

  • MC

    While the comparison excites me, something tells me that Tuitt, much like Heyward, will end up being better pass rushers than Aaron Smith. Not taking anything away from Smith, he was awesome, his style was just different but what he did do he did very well.

  • Smith was asked to occupy lineman and he did that at a very high level. Pass rushing is the linebacker’s job in this defense.

  • AndyR34

    Um-m-m…because the majority is usually wrong?

  • MC

    That’s true, however didn’t Lebeu or another coach come out and say that he’s given the DE’s more freedom to get after the passer? I just remember reading something on it here.
    That could be a by product of not getting enough pressure from our OLB’s the last couple of seasons but im almost certain the scheme has changed slightly since the Aaron Smith days…

  • Weiss Chad

    Umm and the steelers front office????Are they usually wrong also?

  • When it comes to sub-package football and passing situations yea I think they do a bit more rushing. And yea it has changed a bit that’s kind of why I made the comment. Smith wasn’t asked to rush. If he had been, it would have shown up on that stat sheet.

  • MC

    I actually had a look at Smiths stats and he had a couple seasons where he had 8 sacks which is great for a DE, so i might of been inaccurate in my assessment in my first comment…