Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Steelers’ Patrick Queen eager to prove he can be ‘that guy’ without former Ravens teammate

There are several reasons why Patrick Queen chose to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including the chance to play with fellow Pro Bowlers Cam Hayward, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Another big reason why Queen chose Pittsburgh is his desire to prove that he can be “that guy” in the middle of a defense. 

The former Ravens linebacker shared as much when he was recently asked what is the biggest misconception of him. 

“I’d probably say that I can’t do it on my own,” Queen told Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews. “I think everybody thinks that I need a running mate that’s better than me to be able to do stuff. The biggest thing for me now is just going out and proving that I can be that guy, that vocal, dominant leader that everyone looks up to.”

Queen’s final two years in Baltimore were spent alongside fellow middle linebacker Roquan Smith, who came to the Ravens following a productive run with the Chicago Bears. Together, Smith and Queen became arguably the NFL’s best middle linebacker duo. Smith received All-Pro honors each of the past two years. Queen was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2023. 

“Great dude,” Queen said of Smith. “Vocal leader. Passionate guy. Just seeing how he plays every single down, every single day, practice, film, the way he goes in the cafeteria and greets everybody. Just an all-around guy. 

“There’s so much I learned from that guy. I am thankful for him, and he knows that. We talk about it. There’s so much stuff that I could go on (saying) about that guy.” 

The Steelers clearly feel that Queen can be “that guy” in Pittsburgh given that they signed him to a three-year, $41 million contract. A 2020 first-round pick, Queen started in each of his 67 regular-season games with Baltimore. Last season, he filled the stat sheet with 133 tackles, 3.5 sacks, six passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. 

While some of Pittsburgh’s other signings this offseason have generated more buzz, JJ Watt, a future Hall of Fame pass rusher and current CBS Sports NFL analyst, feels that the Steelers’ acquisition of Queen shouldn’t be overlooked. 

“I think that was a really underrated signing that people aren’t talking about as much,” Watt said during a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports. “I think that’s huge for their defense. You put those playmakers at every level with Minkah, Queen, T.J., Cam, Highsmith. They’re really building something there with Joey Porter as well.” 

Watt feels that the Steelers’ flurry of moves are an attempt to maximize remaining prime years of some of their best players, especially on defense. 

“I don’t think that’s lost on the situation,” Watt said. “I think the fact that this group, together, not being past the first round of the playoffs, I think everybody realizes that that is underachieving. To me, and if I’m a Steelers fan, I’m looking at it and I’m saying, OK, Omar and them, they’re going all in. They’re saying, alright, let’s do this. Let’s make a run, let’s see what we can do with this group. 

“Who knows how it’s going to work out. I don’t (know), but I’m looking forward to watching.” 

Smith’s signing brings to mind the Steelers’ free agent acquisition of James Farrior way back in 2002. After a solid five-year run with the Jets, Farrior blossomed into an All-Pro in Pittsburgh who helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls. It’s safe to say that Queen would like to make a similar impact during his time with the black and gold. 

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