Former Steelers Super Bowl champion criticizes the wrong player for lack of impact

Former Steelers Super Bowl champion Chris Hoke had some surprising criticism for Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Minnesota Vikings v Pittsburgh Steelers
Minnesota Vikings v Pittsburgh Steelers / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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Former Pittsburgh Steelers player Chris Hoke had some surprising criticism for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick this week. Fitzpatrick has spent a decent portion of the season injured, and his absence has been notable, as the Steelers secondary has struggled at times in his absence.

Fitzpatrick is a leader on and off the field. He's one of the highest-paid players on the Steelers defense. His numbers often back up his ballhawk style of play, as he creates turnovers. Pittsburgh has one of the best turnover differentials in the league when Fitzpatrick is on the field.

Former Steelers player Chris Hoke criticizes Minkah Fitzpatrick

Still, that wasn't enough for Hoke, who won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh. Much has been said about the Steelers culture this season, and Fitzpatrick was at the center of an incident with Diontae Johnson. The two Steelers stars eventually made up, but locker room incidents aren't to be taken lightly on this team. However, Hoke was upset with Minkah's on-field performance.

“Minkah has 64 tackles, 0 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries. ‘A’ players have to play ‘A’ ball in games like last Thursday and this Saturday. They haven’t gotten that from him this season," Hoke said.

Minkah Fitzpatrick's injuries give him an out

Hoke means well, and a simple look at the numbers is enough to at least suggest Fitzpatrick hasn't had the same impact as in years past. However, Fitzpatrick has played in just nine games and has spent the last few with a broken hand. I don't blame him for struggling in the interception and turnover department. There's only so much he can do.

Fitzpatrick's criticism of his own teammates raised some eyebrows after the Steelers loss to the Patriots.

I think we need to have more people who want to work for it, not expect it to be handed to them," Fitzpatrick said.

Hoke believes Fitzpatrick's lack of production makes his statement ring hollow. There are plenty of Steelers to blame for their recent skid, but Minkah is not one of them.

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