The Giants released Tuzar Skipper Oct. 22 to add linebacker Deone Bucannon, and you could practically feel Steeler Nation rumble with anticipation when the move was announced.
But they didn't get their wish ... not right away at least. It took almost a full month for the Steelers to make their move, but Skipper's back on the team's 53-man roster per a release Tuesday.
To make room for Skipper on the active roster, the Steelers placed L.T. Walton on the reserve/injured list.
The Steelers, of course, cut Skipper, a 24-year-old rookie from Toledo, before their Week 1 matchup with the Patriots to make room for Johnny Holton, prompting many to ask: Why?
Skipper showed out in preseason action, registering five sacks and two forced fumbles, proving his ability to perform within the Steelers defense. The Giants noticed, promptly scooping Skipper up off waivers.
Those in favor of keeping Skipper all along only solidified their views as the Steelers’ season played out. At the time the Giants released him, the Steelers were 2-4, Anthony Chickillo was just arrested over that weekend and T.J. Watt was dealing with an abdominal injury.
“I’m not feeling great, but such is life in the National Football League,” Tomlin said of his outside linebacker depth at the time. “At times, you’re going to be challenged positionally. I didn’t feel great about our running back depth last week. It’s part of the team, part of the journey, part of this process.
“We’ll make do. We’ll make the necessary adjustments, whether it be at outside linebacker or anywhere else we feel like we might be falling short in terms of depth and numbers. We’ll field a group, and we’ll field a group we feel is capable of playing winning football.”
While Chickillo has re-joined the team and Watt has played through his injury, the team lost Ola Adeniyi during their Week 11 loss to the Browns with a concussion, re-opening a need for more depth at outside linebacker.
Now, Skipper gets to provide that boost once again.
With the Giants, Skipper appeared in six games, registering a half-sack, a fumble recovery, two tackles and a quarterback hit.
Necessary. Obvious. Skipper was one of a handful of standouts throughout Steelers training camp and preseason, and I personally thought he earned a spot from the jump. The team loved Chickillo's work on special teams and his familiarity with the Steelers' defense, however, complicating matters a touch. Unsurprisingly, Skipper was claimed elsewhere, but the Steelers made their move and grabbed him before their Week 12 matchup with the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Do I expect him to make the same waves as he did in the preseason? No. I don't even expect him to play much beyond special teams. But he earned his spot with the team, and he'll again be part of the fold should opportunities arise for him to fill in for Watt or Bud Dupree.
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