The Steelers' defense will already be without T.J. Watt for this Sunday's game against the New York Jets. And they could be without another defensive stalwart, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, after coach Mike Tomlin announced that Fitzpatrick is currently in the NFL's concussion protocol. Fitzpatrick will have to go through the league's five-step protocol in order to be cleared to play in Sunday's game. 

Fitzpatrick's 2022 season is off to a strong start. The five-year veteran kicked off the season with a pick-six during the early stages of Pittsburgh's season-opener against the Bengals. His blocked point-after attempt at the end of regulation helped the Steelers defeat Cincinnati in overtime. Fitzpatrick's performance led to him being named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. 

Fitzpatrick picked off his second pass of the season during the Steelers' Week 2 loss to the Patriots. Through three games, the former Dolphins first-round pick has also recorded 24 tackles and two pass breakups during Pittsburgh's first three games. 

If Fitzpatrick is not cleared in time to play, second-year defensive back Tre Norwood is in line to replace him in the starting lineup. A seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Norwood is a versatile defender who is capable of playing both safety and corner. He played in 35% of the Steelers' defensive snaps in Week 1 and has been a key component of Pittsburgh's special teams units. 

The Steelers' defense will face either Joe Flacco or Zach Wilson in Sunday's home game. Pittsburgh has faced Flacco 23 times dating back to his years with the Ravens. The Steelers have yet to face Wilson, who has yet to play during the regular season after suffering a knee injury during the preseason.