There is no Stephon Tuitt. There is no Tyson Alualu. That’s not how Cam Heyward envisions 2021 going. After an excellent 2020 season with all three men, Heyward is the only one still playing this season. Tuitt’s season has yet to begin, not appearing in a game since last year’s Wild Card loss, while Alualu has lost five-quarters of the season with an ankle fracture. It made Heyward the old man in a young room. And it forced him to approach his game a little differently.
He spoke to reporters Thursday to talk about adjusting to a new cast of characters.
“I think that’s a good balance of it,” he told reporters using audio provided by the group. “Know what I have to do, understand what the team needs most. Sometimes I need to press and I need to attack more. Sometimes it’s cleaning things up for the boys. Surely it would have been different without Tuitt and Tyson. There is a degree of trust but that is in our hands. “
If this is a poker game, Heyward is a pair of trump cards. And for a moment, everything else was like a 7-2 suit.
To be fair, this group has talent, the defense being considered one of the team’s deepest positions this year. Chris Wormley has been sneaky playing well, although he hasn’t delivered the class performances that Tuitt can. Isaiah Buggs was a big man of talent who showed that talent but was inconsistent when they arrived. Rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk has been productive and improving, but still a limited number of rookies. Others like Henry Mondeaux and rookie Daniel Archibong, whose team was forced to move into Sunday night, have really struggled.
Heyward had to shoulder the burden like never before. And he’s arguably the best season of his career, even if his layoffs won’t be as flamboyant as in 2017, when he finished with a career-high 12. He is on track to finish with 7.5 this season. But no one would be happier to see #91 and #94 back in the lineup at some point this year – as was the case with Tuitt – or in 2022 at the latest.
https://steelersdepot.com/2021/11/heyward-on-playing-without-tuitt-alualu-its-definitely-different/ Heyward playing without Tuitt, Alualu: ‘Definitely different’