When we speak about Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, the talent he possesses is undeniable.
Last season, Tuitt led his team in sacks before suffering a season-ending bicep injury.
So far this season, Tuitt has not only picked up where he left off, he has seemingly evolved into a player that has become somewhat unblockable.
On Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Tuitt found his way into the backfield frequently, as he registered two sacks and three tackles for loss. With his arsenal of moves and natural abilities, the Ravens offensive line had little to no answers in stopping him.
Quick And Explosive
Of the many attributes that Tuitt possesses, his quickness and the ability to explode out of his stance deserves more attention. There are very few lineman of Tuitt's size, who are capable of gaining leverage against an opposing linemen, using quick feet and explosiveness.
In this sequence, Tuitt is positioned in 2i-technique. When the ball is snapped, the Ravens guard attempts to engage Tuitt from a cross angle. Tuitt explodes out of stance and executes a quick swim move, which immediately puts in him the backfield where he makes the tackle for loss on Ravens' running back Gus Edwards. Whether the opposing Ravens guard miscalculated the angle he took coming out of his stance, Tuitt had the presence of mind to use that mistake to his advantage.
Swim Move Sack
In this sequence, Tuitt demonstrates how winning leverage in one-on-one battles does not always require strength, rather an understanding of angles and how to attack an opposing lineman.
Seen here, Tuitt is aligned in a 2i-technique, with the Steelers defense showing a modified 4-3 front. When the ball is snapped, Tuitt engages with the opposing Ravens linemen. What is worth noting is how he attacks the inside shoulder of the Ravens lineman. This small but significant action takes the opposing lineman off his base, renders him completely unbalanced, allowing Tuitt to swim over him for an easy path to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Generally speaking, it is recommended for lineman to play with a lower pad level, as it allows for better hand placement which is ideal in winning one-on-one battles. Tuitt is one of those rare specimens capable of winning the type of battles without utilizing proper pad level.
The Steelers in this sequence, are showing a 3-4 front with Tuitt aligned in 3-technique. When that ball is snapped, Tuitt explodes out of his stance and engages with the opposing Ravens lineman. Using sheer strength, he drives the Ravens lineman far enough, he comes close to hitting his quarterback. Once in the backfield, he gets a hold of Jackson and finishes the play. In defense of the Ravens lineman, stopping Tuitt in these situations is nearly impossible.
A healthy Tuitt has proven to be a great benefit for the Steelers defense, and a serious problem for opposing teams. As he currently sits tied for second on the team with six sacks, he continues to get stronger and more creative with each game he plays. At this point, Tuitt has proven to a puzzle that teams are having a difficult time solving. By all accounts, there are no signs of an answer anytime soon.