Tomlin Not Surprised By Sunday Play Of Chickillo, Alualu

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree for their 2017 regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns as he sat out the game with a listed shoulder injury. In addition to Dupree missing the game, starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt exited Sunday’s contest against the Browns with a right bicep injury after just two plays.

The loss of those two left side defensive players resulted in outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo and defensive end Tyson Alualu both needing to play a large amount of snaps and during his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to access the performance of the two.

“Those guys did a great job, but I’m not surprised by it,” Tomlin said of the Sunday play of both Chickillo and Alualu. “Bud [Dupree] missed significant time in the preseason and so that wasn’t Chickillo’s first time to run with the first group. The same can be said with Tyson. Pleased with their performance, not surprised by it.”

Chickillo, who started in place of Dupree on the left side, had a great game from a statistical standpoint as the former sixth-round draft pick out of Miami registered two sacks and six total tackles against the Browns. If that’s not enough, Chickillo also scored the Steelers first points of the game thanks to him recovering a blocked punt in the end zone early in the first quarter.

As for Alualu, who the Steelers signed to a two-year free agent contract this past March, he also seemingly played well against the Browns. The former first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars recorded five total tackles against the Browns in the 54 total defensive snaps that he played.

With Tuitt now week-to-week with his bicep injury, it stands to reason that Alualu could see extended playing time moving forward. The same could go for Chickillo as Tomlin was very sketchy Tuesday when asked about the current health of Dupree, who is also reportedly dealing with an ankle injury.

“We’ll let it unfold as we push through the week,” Tomlin said of Dupree’s Week 2 status. “We’ll let practice participation and quality of that participation be our guide as we normally do. We’re not at the juncture in the season where guys can expect to go into a stadium and play at a winning level without practicing. So, practice participation is a big component of availability for us.”

The Steelers will release their first injury report of Week 2 on Wednesday so we’ll have to wait and see if Dupree and Tuitt are both able to practice in some capacity.

  • george

    So am I reading this right? Dupree has a shoulder AND an ankle injury?

  • treeher

    Maybe. But I think the shoulder is what’s keeping him out.

  • Robert E Lil

    Bud is a great backup to Chickillo

  • razaard2

    If Dupree doesn’t come back quickly Chickillo will steal his job….

  • Thomas

    I don’t want to rush Tuitt at all, if he has a sprain he’s more likely to suffer a tear.

  • Lee Foo Young

    Will Bud be another Jarvis Jones?

  • razaard2

    Hopefully not. But after last year stretch I think he already surpassed Jarvis Jones by a mile (not a big feat, to be honest). Hell, his playoffs hit on Matt Moore alone is far greater than Jarvis Jones pro career

  • thomas hmmmm

    This makes me wonder about a possibility… If Chick plays well and continues bringing pressure from the outside then there is no need to replace him. So Dupree goes to the bench, but what is the possibility of them starting to train Bud to play ILB? He has all the athleticism you could want. That would give us possibly the fastest pair of ILB’s in the league. I know if that is a possibility and has crossed their minds that it would take a season to fully train him and wouldn’t be for this seasons D, but that would seem to make an awesome LB group.

  • Rocksolid20

    Careful Jarvis is available .

  • jesse murray

    Outside of sacks Chickillo was horrible.

  • jesse murray

    Really did you actually watch Chickillo play? I got news for you outside of his 2 sacks that came mostly via a rookie holding the ball to long he was awful.

  • MP

    I’m not surprised either. But I do think we need to consider an athlete’s worth in terms of their ability + the probability that they stay healthy. We typically think of a guy being injury-prone or not. But what about everything in between. Dupree falls somewhere in there, just like Shazier.

  • jesse murray

    Gee nice theory just one huge problem: Chickillo was awful Sunday. His sack came because a rookie QB held onto the ball to long outside of that he was abused all game long. This team needs Dupree back asap.

  • razaard2

    I guess we watched different games

  • Besd1

    Don’t you mean outside of the two sacks, touchdown and 6 tackles, joint second in the team?

  • jconeoone C

    please explain how he was “awful”

  • jconeoone C

    You keep using “awful” and i just didn’t see that during the game.

  • jconeoone C

    This guy just doesn’t like Chickillo for some reason.

  • Besd1

    He keeps posting the same thing, but never explains what he saw that makes him think that.

  • T3xassteelers

    He wasn’t awful, but Chick WILL NOT take Duprees job. No chance in hell that happens. Once Dupree is back, Chick is back to reserve.

  • T3xassteelers

    To everyone saying Chickillo taking Dupree’s job.. STOP IT.. lol that’s Duprees.

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    Pipedream. Bud will be back.

  • Robert E Lil

    It is.
    Unless positions were rewarded based on performance in lieu of draft position

  • Taylor Williams

    He’s more athletic than Jarvis, but they both share the same skills and hand usage. Chick has better technique than both, but isn’t as quick as Bud. Watt will be better than all. None better than prime deebo and Woodley(before he got fat).

  • Chad H


  • jesse murray

    Sure. His run D was pitiful. He got shoved all over the field. When he dropped into coverage he was slow, stiff and frankly looked lost. Even rushing the passer when Kizer didn’t hold onto the ball for 5 plus seconds he got swallowed. Don’t take my word for it get NFL replay and watch for yourself. It isn’t pretty.

  • jesse murray

    Yeah we did. His run fits were awful. His coverage awful. His pass rush outside of when rook held ball for 5 plus seconds was meh. All 22 is a wonderful tool to reveal what really happened outside of perception of watching Chick on 2 plays he had sacks on.

  • jesse murray

    Yes because all you watched/saw was his two sacks that came directly from others creating pressure and Kizer holding the ball to long. Did you watch all his snaps? His run D? When he dropped into coverage? His other pass rushes? I did and yep he stunk.

  • jesse murray

    I explained see above. U guys saw two plays and decided based on that Chick was great. I actually bothered to watch all his snaps and then made a judgment.

  • Robert E Lil

    How bout you start at the beginning. That is, Cleveland offensive play 1. Chick got out in space, along the sideline where the quick pass was meant to go. Keizer cocked his arm, saw 56 in position and took a sack.
    You are so full of it.

  • Jaybird

    The Steelers let up 50 something yards rushing on 25 carries. How “pitiful” or “awful ” could he have been against the run.

  • Robert E Lil

    Jesse = Bud!

  • Jaybird


  • Bryan Ischo

    Why didn’t the other “better” linebackers get the sacks on those 5 plus seconds plays? Also you said before that his run D was “awful”, but Cleveland’s run game went nowhere, so his game could not possibly have been bad, unless maybe 40 of those yards were run his way, which I doubt. You have no evidence, you just have a grudge against Chickillo for some reason that I can’t even comprehend.

  • Alan Tman

    I like Dupree and Chickillo, but Dupree has surpassed Shazier in the career race for Mr. Make the Club in the Tub.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I think the position was handed to Dupree and has been his to take completely. I don’t believe he has necessarily done that. Chick looks better each year and Dupree isn’t on the field.

    If we hear that Dupree is going to have surgery on that shoulder and Chick starts the year there, who’s to say?