"One man's misfortune or inconvenience is an opportunity for another." Variations of quotes are often used by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who said those exact words when asked about T.J. Watt not currently taking part in team drills. Watt, last year's runner-up for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is hoping for a contract extension before the start of the regular season.
Instead of lamenting over Watt's absence, the Steelers head coach instead chose to put the spotlight on Melvin Ingram, who has gained cohesion with Pittsburgh's first-team defense in place on Watt. The Steelers signed the three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher to a one-year deal on July 20.
"It's funny, I challenged Melvin Ingram this morning in the team setting," Tomlin said during his weekly press conference. "We're coming after Melvin Ingram today with tackle-over, out in that space with some big tight ends like Zach Gentry. Melvin's a run-game bully so we wanted to get to know him a little bit today."
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Tomlin -- who said that the Steelers had no reservations about Ingram's health after he missed nine games last season with a knee injury -- spoke highly of Ingram and his quick acclimation to the team. The Steelers have had Ingram line up on the right and left side of the defense during training camp. They've done the same with second-year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, who enjoyed a strong preseason debut during last Thursday's win over Dallas in the Hall of Fame Game.
"I've just been excited about getting to know him as a player and looking at his skill set and figuring out ways that we can infuse him into what it is that we do," Tomlin said. "It's been a fun process. He's a football lover. He's a competitor. He likes to work. He's been fitting in nicely with the guys. It's been a fun process."
Ingram, who recorded 43 sacks for the Chargers between 2015-19, said that he feels like an 18-year-old during his first interview session with the Pittsburgh media. He also elaborated on why he chose to sign with the Steelers, who have led the league in sacks each of the last four years.
"I just felt like the program, the coaches, the team, everybody," Ingram said, via ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "It was a place I felt like I could call home, a place I can come in and fit in. Everything was amazing here, down to the coaches, the players, the city, just how they do everything. They welcomed me with open arms."
It's clear that Ingram and the Steelers are enjoying a honeymoon start. It is also clear that Tomlin is not worried about Watt's status at this point in camp.
"The business is going to run its course," Tomlin said in regard to Watt. "He's highly conditioned. Our strength staff is working with him. He's getting in good work days. The process is running its course."