John Mitchell Is ‘Very, Very Excited’ About New DL Tyson Alualu

The Pittsburgh Steelers signing of unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Tyson Alualu during the offseason might fly under the radar on the national level as the former first round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars never really lived up to his selection status during his first seven years in the league. Additionally, while Alualu might not be viewed as a sexy offseason free agent addition in the eyes of several fans of the Steelers, the team’s defensive line coach John Mitchell is very excited to have him in Pittsburgh now as he’s been a fan of him since he was in college.

“This man had a resume coming out of Cal and I liked him,” Mitchell said of Alualu during an interview a few days ago on Steelers Nation Radio. “At the particular time [2010], we couldn’t get to him [in the draft], but when you have a veteran ballplayer like him, who’s played in this league, who came out with a great resume, he’s a big, big addition to us.

“I think he’s going to help us. He fits in very well with my players in the meeting room. Here’s a guy that’s been around, he knows how to study, he knows how to come to practice and I’ve been very, very excited about Tyson.”

With Alualu now in the fold, the hope is that his addition can finally help alleviate starting defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt from having to play nearly all the defensive snaps on a weekly basis and thus keep both players fresher for not only late in games, but late in the season as well. Mitchell spoke about the possibility of that finally happening this year now that Alualu has been added to the team.

“You’ve got Tyson now, I mean, I love him,” Mitchell started. “He can help both of them [Heyward and Tuitt] and the good thing about him, he can play either right or left end. And so, you want your better ballplayers – when you go into the fourth quarter and you guys know, most of the games in the National Football League, they’re won in the last five minutes of the game and when you’ve got healthy players and fresh players in the game, it gives you an edge.

“So, if we can play with Tuitt and Cam 50 plays and let Tyson get 25, L.T. [Walton] get 25, hey, we’ll be better. For a 16-game season and late in December and early January, you want your horses ready to go and if those guys are not beat up, they’re going to be a lot more productive.”

While Alualu is now 30 years of age and entering his eighth season in the NFL, it’s worth noting that he’s never missed a game during his professional career due to injury. Additionally, him now being set to play roughly 25 snaps a game or less in Pittsburgh, should keep him very fresh as well.

With the Steelers 2017 training camp now right at the halfway point, the reports from practice on Alualu have seemingly been very positive overall and it’s obvious that Mitchell believes he can ultimately be a huge contributor this season. If that happens, both Heyward and Tuitt should become more productive players by proxy.

  • Ichabod

    I’m thinkin’ Mitchell likes this guy!

  • LucasY59

    maybe its just that Troy was such a great player, but I really like having a player with pacific islander heritage (its not a big deal, just have liked most of the guys that have been on the team previously, Ta’amu was a big let down) Fu, Kimo V O, Kemo Eat U, and like I already mentioned Polamalu, Hope Alualu can be one of my new favs

  • Michael James

    It’s really simple: When Coach Mitchell is “very, very excited” about a guy (especially after having coached him for several practices now), this guy will turn out to be a great addition.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Shrewd, low profile FA pickup here. If we can stay healthy, our D line is going to be better than it’s been since the heyday of Hampton, Smith, Kiesel and Co.

  • Sam Clonch

    Was a really good class of FAs Colbert picked up this year. Coty, Tyson, Hunter all look like at least like contributing backups. Jury’s still out on Kniles. Think Stafford would have been among the former, but guess we’ll never know…

  • Steve Johnson

    Did you notice, he never mentioned McCullers?

  • Jaybird

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard so much praise from Mitchell as I have recently . Either he’s pretty high on the talent he has on this D Line or he’ s really happy he’s retiring soon!

  • StolenUpVotes

    Let’s hope it is the former lol

  • Lambert58

    Like what I’m seeing from this D Line. If Alualu can stay healthy. (still worried about that calf) and LT Walton can step up as an effective backup NT, we could be in business to get pressure on the QB and free up Deebo, Dupree and Watt.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I hope he staples his suggestions on playing time to Tomlin’s forehead. Otherwise I don’t think he’ll see it.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Of course Tomlin as HC could overrule any personnel matter. But position coaches watch their guys closer than anyone and usually rotate them. We haven’t had guys that were worthy of getting Cam and Tuitt off the field. I believe that to be the problem. Not Tomlin.

  • AndyR34

    I would add Chris Hope to that DL.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    walton did a decent job matthews wasnt awful though cam thomas was.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    kemoeatu was trash. trash!

  • Steeler Nation!

    I agree with that. It was decent last year. 2015 we had NO depth. This year, barring a rash of injuries, should be our best in a good while. LT should be better and we’ve added to the mix.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Hoke. And yes you’re right. He manned the NT position on that great 2004 defense because Casey missed almost the whole year.

    Chris Hope was our FS, before Clark. But I knew what you meant.

  • H.K. northern cali

    One of the best d-lines the Steelers have had in yrs!!

  • steelchambers

    Yeah Yeah, he said the same about Ricardo Mathews and he was just another in the line of bad choices at defensive lineman. Cam Thomas to name one. Alualu was a 1st round draft pick but wasn’t 1st round talent. Is there a reason they let him go? We will see.

  • Soopakatt

    Hargraves either….

  • AndyR34

    I’m terrible at multitasking! LOL

  • LucasY59

    pretty much the whole line was at that time, but he was the guy I liked the best of that group (doesnt mean he was a great player)

  • Michael Mosgrove

    you didnt like essex or starks? or colon?

  • LucasY59

    not really, Kemo had the one pulling play where he would smack people pretty good, and that was enough for me to like him, but like I said that OL was not exactly impressive (even if they all got a ring)

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Fair enough, though I’d still say Starks was one very good player.

    Side note, I can’t seem to find the John Mitchell interview, so I may be wrong or misinterpreted one.

  • LucasY59

    Max was probably the best of the group (but one more time thats not saying much) I dont know if he was worth the tags they paid him (but they didnt have a better option)

    back to the original point I still like guys like Troy and hope that Tyson plays well enough (in a rotational role) that it makes me like him as well

  • Michael Mosgrove

    fair enough.

  • Jose Cheque Ramos

    With the signing of T. Alualu and the continuous progress of LT Walton and his move to NT, D. Mc roster spot is in jeopardy. If we also take in consideration what J. Maxey did when he was called up from the PS. The Steelers will loose J. Maxey if they put him back to the PS, to risky. These DL has a good dept.