Tuitt: 'It's the best part of the game'

Stephon Tuitt couldn't help but break into a smile.

And it was quickly followed by a laugh, one of those laughs when you are about to talk about something that makes you really happy.

A laugh you can only get when you ask a defensive lineman about sacking a quarterback.

"It is the best part of game," said Tuitt, the smile about as wide as you could imagine.

Tuitt has 11.5 sacks in three seasons, but he knows those numbers need to grow to help the defense overall.

"I am a double-digit sack guy. I am," said Tuitt. "I would have had it last year if I didn't miss my sacks. That is my goal this year. I just have to work on the little things to get my sacks. Things like working out, watching film. Understanding what you are good at, what you aren't good at. How you can become good at that. Know that you are a dominant force and believing that you are a dominant force. Come out here on the field and do the things you need to do on the field.

"I do have a knack for getting to the quarterback. For me, my thing is to stop him and get him to the ground. I had a lot of missed tackles. A lot of those missed tackles are sacks. My process has to be finishing, slowing down, and getting him down to the ground."

Those missed tackles he refers to eat away at him. And he does everything in his power to correct them.  

"I had one in the first preseason game and I couldn't believe I missed it," he unhappily recalled. "It was a routine tackle. It made me mad."

It's those kinds of plays that drive him, make him work his tail off every day in practice, in the weight room and in the film room to not let the same mistake happen again.

Take a look at the best photos from the Week 2 Preseason matchup against the Falcons. The Steelers defeated the Falcons 17-13.

"I want to be better than I was last year," said Tuitt. "I want to be why our team has a dominant defense. All of the things I wake up to and try to check off to be the best person I can be. It's about coming out here every day, working hard, getting to know your teammates, doing the little things to get better and become a better person.

"I am blessed to have the talent to play this game, but every year I can get better. Every year you can learn something about yourself, you watch something that you notice, I never did this before and it works. You work on it and it becomes something special. Right now I am working on something for me, a signature move that I can go into the game and know I can do it and just take the quarterback down. I have a talent to get up the field and stop the run and the pass. Being the all-around best player I can be. I work on that every day."

Tuitt credits working against the Steelers offensive line, in particular for him David DeCastro, on a daily basis in practice for helping not just him, but the entire defensive line get better daily.

"They are the best in the NFL. They are ranked in the top two or three in the NFL," said Tuitt. "I am getting a chance to go against an all-pro guard every day who can move, who is strong and fast. Going against somebody like that, when I get to a game there is no competition. My competition is getting up every day and practicing against someone like that. Having that ability to do that against the whole line in Pittsburgh is awesome.

"The only way I will know if I am a dominant player is if I prove it. Right now I am going against a great offensive line in practice. I need to have a great season, I need to have a dominant season where I am respected around the league."

A look back: Rookie Joshua Dobbs offered an up and down assessment of his performance against the Falcons on Sunday, when he completed 10 of 19 passes for 70 yards and one interception.

"I had the chance to watch the film so you just have to better on third down, especially early in the game," said Dobbs. "I did some things well. I moved the ball at times and just making plays in key downs. I will have emphasis over this next week, and especially for me, just protecting the football, especially on third down.

"I was able to get in and out of the huddle, get in a rhythm quicker, get used to the procedure and get the team moving in the right direction. I just have to keep getting more natural on the field and play your game at the end of the day."

Run and ride: The annual Cancer Caring Center 5K Run/Walk, chaired by Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward and his wife Allie, returns to Kennywood Park this year. The 5K run takes place on Saturday, Sept. 16, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Registration is $59 and includes gifts as well as a ride all day Kennywood ticket and free parking. Spectator tickets, which includes ride all day passes and free parking, are available for $30. The Top 10 fundraisers will win the opportunity to have lunch with the Heyward. Registration is open at

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