2017 South Side Questions: How Many Snaps For Tuitt?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: How many snaps will Stephon Tuitt be given when he returns to the field?

While it is so far looking positive on the health front for Stephon Tuitt, this question will apply whether he returns this week or another week. The fourth-year defensive end suffered a bicep injury on the second snap of the season and has missed all but those two plays over the course of the past two weeks.

But he practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and was a full participant yesterday, which puts him on track to play provided that there are no setbacks reported in today’s practice participation. While the defense has held up without him, his return will still obviously be a big boost.

Cameron Heyward has really stepped up in particular in his absence, recording a sack to go along with nine tackles, and he has consistently provided pressure against the pass as well. Tyson Alualu has done an admirable job in Tuitt’s absence, though I haven’t observed much of pass rush from him.

To have Heyward and Tuitt on the field together is to have a pair of Pro Bowl-worthy talents who are both very gifted physically and are fundamentally and schematically sound, and who know how to work off of one another. There is really no substitute for having both of them on the field at the same time.

Yet it may be wise to urge caution. It is true that he even last week was able to do cardio work, so I don’t think that conditioning should be much of an issue, if at all—let’s face it, we’re talking about a 24-year-old here—but you never want to rush somebody back from an injury.

Tuitt said that he was worried his season might be over initially, and seems to understand the bullet that he dodged, yet I’m sure he will be hungry to get back out on the field and make an impact as quickly as possible.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Chris92021

    I predict Tuitt gets 30 percent of the snaps with Alualu getting the rest. Hopefully the Steelers will get out to a big lead early and force the Bears to consider putting in Trubisky by halftime. Time to end the narrative of “Steelers playing down to inferior competition” once and for all.

  • nutty32

    3rd and long, pass rush downs only?

  • IndianaCarson

    I would be interested in hearing what Dr. Melanie Friedlander thoughts are as to when it would be a legitimate time frame for Tuitt to return without suffering possible long term injury.

  • ThatGuy

    Good one.

  • If there was a chance for his injury to be worsened or become long term, I’m sure the medical staff wouldn’t allow him to even practice.

    Melanie Friedlander has been a godsend for helping us to better understand the more concerning injuries from a medical standpoint the past few years. But she doesn’t have hands on knowledge with the patient. Her guess would be far more closer than we could hope to assume but it would still be a guess nonetheless.

  • LucasY59

    I would plan on only playing him 50% of the snaps, unless he is unstoppable and showing no signs of injury, IF he is struggling I would take him out after his 1st series, Alualu and the rest of the DL depth is good enough they dont need to force him back in

  • Dorian James

    ZERO, get him ready for the ratbirds

  • Dshoff

    This is a LONG season. It’s best to give Walton and Alu and ESPECIALLY Hargrave a lot of snaps every game so Tuitt and Heyward don’t wear down. I don’t understand why they aren’t playing Hargrave more. He is NOT just a DT, he can penetrate with his great hands and moves.

  • dany

    if that

    Just get him as close to 100% as possible. You can’t eliminate rust with practice. Most of us thought he was a goner after one game, if he’s healthy for half of the year at least I’m fine with it. Don’t rush

  • O’Neal

    Thats what im hoping. No need to rush back for this one.

  • Ichabod

    15 snaps to get some work in
    Then 100% against ratbirds