Dan McCullers relishes sack, rebirth as part of Steelers’ DL rotation
Two games into 2018, Dan McCullers has already played more defensive snaps for the Pittsburgh Steelers than he did all of last season. He already has more “splash plays,” too – even if his sack of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes on Sunday wasn’t of the highlight-reel variety.
“(Mahomes) just came right up to me,” McCullers said of his second-quarter sack, the only one the Steelers had in a 42-37 loss. “I saw that, and I got off (the blocker), and then I kind of like went for his shoulder. It seemed like he just dropped.”
It did. But then again, McCullers is 6 feet 7 and 352 pounds. So his heavy arm striking a quarterback could have that effect.
McCullers said it’s been gratifying being part of the defense this season after appearing in only four of the Steelers’ 15 meaningful games last season, his fourth in the NFL. He played just 13 snaps all season, or two fewer than he’s gotten already in 2018.
“It feels good being out there with the teammates and having an opportunity to show what you can do,” McCullers said. “We came up short as a team (Sunday), but as an individual felt good playing and being able to help.”
McCullers credited new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar for his rebirth of sorts. Former longtime defensive line coach John Mitchell had clearly tired of McCullers, whose size has always made him intriguing.
“Coach Dunbar, he’s been working with me a lot, and all the d-line, helping us pick up techniques and things that help us each game,” McCullers said. “And we feel like we are building something good with him. We’re just trying to keep it going. He’s building some trust in me, and I am trying to make it grow more.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.