Steelers DC Has Unique Idea for How to Stop Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill

Steelers CB Cameron Sutton

Andy Lyons/Getty Images Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton celebrates with teammates after an interception on September 11, 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up to face a pair of speedy Miami Dolphins wide receivers in front of a national television audience. Moreover, they will be attempting to cover Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle with a pair of starting cornerbacks — Ahkello Witherspoon and Cameron Sutton — who are working their way back from hamstring injuries. Never mind the fact that All-Pro free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has been battling a knee injury, and CB3 Levi Wallace is coming off a concussion.

On Thursday Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was asked how the Steelers might keep Hill and Waddle in check.

“We could put our guys on a car or a motorcycle,” Austin said on Oct. 20, while talking to reporters at the UPMC-Rooney Sports Complex. “I don’t know if you can get ready for that speed. That speed is unique. It’s not just (Hill). You’ve got Waddle across from him. Those guys can really run.”

Indeed they can, part of the reason that Tyreek Hill leads the NFL in receiving yards (701), while Waddle is Top 5 in the league with 533 receiving yards.


Pittsburgh’s Track Record vs. Tyreek Hill

Yet Pittsburgh has had success keeping Hill in check in the past. According to Steelers.com, Hill has never had a 100-yard game against Pittsburgh, with his career high of 90 yards coming in 2018. On the other hand, the former 5th-round pick (2016) — a three-time first-team All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler — has been catching more passes than ever.

Last season he hauled in 111 passes from Patrick Mahomes while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. And with 50 catches in just six games in 2022, he is on pace to set a new career-high, even if he only has two touchdown receptions thus far this season.

Yet its Waddle — who was selected 6th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft — who is serving as Miami’s big play threat this season. Waddle had a 1,000-yard season as a rookie while averaging 9.8 yards per catch. With Tyreek Hill starting opposite him, Waddle is averaging 17.8 yards per catch and has three touchdown catches.

So while backup cornerbacks James Pierre and Josh Jackson did well in stopping Tom Brady last week, it’s safe to say that Austin would rather have his starters back ASAP.

“Those guys did well. They played hard,” Austin said on Thursday. “They did what we asked them to do. They executed the game plan really well. They showed up. They played varsity ball for us, and that’s always good moving forward. If we get in a pinch and those guys have to step into the game, they can play varsity football,” he concluded, borrowing a word (i.e., varsity) that is commonly used by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.


‘Don’t Let Robert Spillane Cover Tyreek Hill!’

One thing Steelers fans don’t want to see is inside linebacker Robert Spillane tying to cover Tyreek Hill, as illustrated by the following Breaking Bad meme.

In fact, Steelers Nation would prefer not to see Spillane in coverage at all. This season Robert ‘Front of the Plane’ Spillane is one of the lowest-rated Steelers defenders, at least as far as Pro Football Focus (PFF) is concerned.

Spillane has a 46.6 overall grade in 2022, with a 47.2 coverage grade.

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