Ex-Steelers Linebacker Waived by Titans After ‘Completely Ineffective’ Start

Derrek Tuszka Steelers

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images Derrek Tuszka of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Derrick Gore of the Kansas City Chiefs during a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 16, 2022.

On Monday the Tennessee Titans waived former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Derrek Tuszka, just one day after he started against the Las Vegas Raiders and recorded two tackles, having played 16 snaps on defense and another 17 on special teams.

“Tuszka was completely ineffective both as a pass rusher and run stopper in Sunday’s victory over the Raiders,” says Justin Melo of SB Nation’s Music City Miracles, noting that Tuszka earned a “dreadful” 38.7 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus.

Tuszka had been with the Titans through most the month of September, as Tennessee picked him up shortly after the Steelers waived him on Sept. 1 and replaced him with Jamir Jones, leading to a situation in which Tennessee’s outside linebackers room was “literally all Pittsburgh guys.”

But it hasn’t gone well for the ex-Pittsburgh players that Tennessee imported. Not only are the Titans 1-2, former Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree missed the Raiders game with a hip injury suffered against the Bills. Ex-Steelers linebacker Ola Adeniyi also was hurt in Buffalo, having suffered a wrist injury.

It seems pretty unlikely that the Steelers would claim Tuszka on waivers, having released him little more than three weeks ago. At the moment, Pittsburgh has two outside linebackers on its practice squad, including Delontae Scott, who has already been elevated to the active/inactive roster twice since T.J. Watt was sidelined by a torn pectoral.

Ryan Anderson (who was signed by the Steelers on Sept. 13) is also available to potentially support starters Alex Highsmith and Malik Reed, not to mention primary backup Jamir Jones. The Steelers also have ex-Titans OLB David Anenih on the active roster, having poached him off Tennessee’s practice squad on Sept 15. But Anenih has yet to dress for a game.

Of course, it’s possible that Tennessee will sign Tuszka to its practice squad, assuming he clears waivers. The former MVFC Player of the Year has been in the league since the Denver Broncos selected him in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft.


Ex-Steelers DT Henry Mondeaux Elevated by Giants

In other ex-Steelers news from Monday, former Steelers defensive tackle Henry Mondeaux was elevated from the New York Giants practice squad to go against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Mondeaux did get in the game on defense, but the Cowboys escaped New York with a 23-16 victory.


Zach Wilson or Joe Flacco?

Looking ahead to Sunday’s home game against the New York Jets, it remains to be seen whether Jets starter Zach Wilson will be able to make his 2022 regular-season debut.

On Monday, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said the team is still waiting for Wilson to be cleared to play. Wilson has been out since suffering a bone bruise and meniscus tear during New York’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Thus far this season the Jets have been guided by former Baltimore Ravens starter Joe Flacco, who has been in the league 15 years and has served as a backup for the Jets since 2020. In 181 total appearances Flacco, 37, has compiled a 99-80 record as a starter. But he has won just three of 13 starts since leaving Baltimore after the 2018 season.

At the moment the Steelers are a 3.5-point favorite against the Jets. Pittsburgh has won 20 of the 26 games in the all-time series, but New York emerged victorious two of the last three matchups, all of which took place between 2014-19.

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