Anthony Chickillo Impressive In First Preseason Work Of 2017

After missing the first preseason game, the return of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ third-year outside linebacker to the lineup was a much-anticipated moment. Only it proved to be the other third-year outside linebacker, and not the one upon whom this season’s hopes of rebuilding a pass rush lie.

As I wrote about earlier today, it was anticipated that yesterday’s preseason game would mark the 2017 debut of Bud Dupree, 2015’s first-round draft pick, but while he dressed and was in pads, he never came off the sideline.

Starting in his place instead was Anthony Chickillo, the other outside linebacker that the Steelers drafted in the sixth round that year. While he only played 22 snaps during his rookie season, Chickillo did make a handful of starts a year ago while Dupree was on injured reserve, and he held his own, even if he wasn’t as much of a difference-making presence as two strip-sacks might indicate.

Still, none of that would take away the quality of play that the former college defensive end flashed against the Falcons yesterday evening. While it is worth noting that he has been consistently praised in years past—especially last year—for being impressive in training camp, a trend that continued this year, I feel as though we saw, among other things, a burst and bend to his pass rush that hasn’t been present, at least consistently enough, on his game tape before.

He showed that on both of his sacks that he recorded in the game, but he also showed off the diversity of his skill set against the run and even in coverage, completing his stat line with five tackles and a pass defensed.

The man whom Shaun O’Hara inadvertently referred to as “Chickadillo” during the game broadcast looked the part of a well-rounded player out on the field, which included, on the positive side, a recovered fumble on a punt and on the negative, an offside penalty on defense.

The Steelers, needing a jump start after a lackadaisical first half, capped off the Falcons’ opening drive of the third quarter by making stops on back-to-back plays. After a hold set them back, Chickillo made the run stop after two yards on second and 16, and then on third and long, he bested the left tackle and showed reaction time to be able to chase the quarterback as he stepped up in the pocket, bringing him down by the leg.

His first sack came midway through the second quarter, also from the right side. He failed to bite on the play action and, again, showed off his reaction time and agility as the quarterback attempted to peel away from him, dropping him for a 13-yard loss.

After Arthur Moats’ big game in the first preseason contest, Chickillo matched him in this one, in my opinion, even if the stat line is not quite as impressive as three sacks and an interception.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • SeventhHeavan

    Good game (fluke) by Chick. I still like Moats over him.

  • Ace

    Chickadillo! I heard that and was like, does he know this kid or something? Like is that some kind of pet name for him they got going on? But I don’t think that was a misspoken word, I think that idiot actually thought that was his name.

  • falconsaftey43

    I noticed he played with his hand in the dirt a lot of the game. New wrinkle, may have helped him out to come out of 3 point stance instead of standing up.

  • Biggie

    He was definitely one bright spot on defense as he was all over the field in response to Moats game last week. Always good to see guys step up with competition. Hilton once again looked good on defense as well.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He did that some last year as well.

  • Jacob

    Lost in yesterday’s game was the performance of T.J. Watt. Why wasn’t he the one making the sacks?

    I know he’s a new guy, but hardly anyone has mentioned his name or how well he did. 2 tackles, 2 assisted takes. Any pressures?

  • colingrant

    Mr. August

  • Jaybird

    I’m not getting a “BAD JUJU” jersey any more. I am now getting a ” CHICKADILLO” jersey!


    played well against run tho

  • Guest12

    As a Canes fan I can also say that’s when he saw most of his success in college. One of the few mistakes Al Golden didn’t make was putting Chick’s hand in the dirt

  • ryan72384

    I definitely agree about him having a burst yesterday that we never really saw before. Even before the first sack I thought Chick looked faster and stronger.

  • Dshoff

    I wish Chick would have gotten Timmons #94 because he sure reminds me of Chad Brown for some reason.

  • MC

    Looks like he’s dropped the weight he needed to and now can move around quicker. Good burst and break down to make that first sack. Would love Chick to solidify himself as the backup.

  • “WC”

    The thing about the NFL, especially for a team with championship aspirations, you must have good players across the board.

    The Steelers run a tough practice. That is no secret. However if you are attempting to get your team ready for the physicality they will be facing, that stance can go either way. Yes they may get an idea of how physical the game is in the NFL. They also risk the probability of injuries.

    Rather it’s in practice or on actual game days, it is still an injury. That injury can have serious consequences short and long term.

    Having your star players out for whatever reason simply means you have to have sufficient depth to carry on in their absence. Chickallo is a prime example of such a player.

    You have to ask yourself what is more important. The Journey or the satisfaction of knowing you made it through the journey as a united team that did it together!

    This is going to be a long season. The Steelers will not get any help from the Refs or anyone like that. However they will reach out to us fans for that support, and we must return do the same for them in support.

  • PA2AK_

    Ha I was just thinking the opposite. You might be right. I tend to skew toward youth in backup positions…stroke of luck seems more possible. Could it even come to that question this year? Moats or Chick?

  • Chad Weiss

    And just like that Steelers olb depth is looking pretty good. It’s nice to be winning pre season gamess for once,it shows Steelers are getting better in the depth chart.

  • Jarod Wells

    I think one sack came against jake Matthews, which makes it a bit more impressive.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    Chickillo looked good. Explosive and athletic with some bend. I expect continued production through out the preseason

  • Rocksolid20

    Should have room for both .

  • Brenton deed

    Great news but was he up against starters?

  • Alan Tman

    I like Chickillo fan since before the draft. I thought for sure he’d be a third round pick. Lol I was shocked he went in the sixth. He’s a player,but he gets hurt too much to be a sixth rounder. When you get your shot as a sixth round pick you have to cash in.

  • Conserv_58

    What? It’s not like he has a choice of getting injured or not. FYI, He IS a sixth round pick that cashed in.

  • Conserv_58

    There is no doubt in my mind that he’s solidified a back up role.

  • Alan Tman

    How did he cash in and he’s not even an unrestricted free agent yet? Did you read any of my post? Lol

  • tequila0341

    Preseason MVP Anthony Chickillo.

    I’ll believe it when I see it in the regular season.