From his teammates, we’ve heard a lot about T.J. Watt during the spring and early summer sessions. So let’s hear from the man himself as he wraps up minicamp and sees training camp on the horizon.
Watt seemed much more modest than the praise other players have been heaping on him.
“I don’t know man,” he told the gaggle of reporters after yesterday’s practice via Steelers.com. “I just hear my name is getting called quite a bit. At the end of the day, I’m just tyring to get better. It’s fun to go up against those guys because obviously, if you’re winning those drills, you’re doing something right.”
He’s had a rare opportunity to become the starter immediately, saying he received the “majority” of first team reps with James Harrison being held back. Still, it meant he jumped Anthony Chickillo, now considered a veteran on the team, a clear statement by the Steelers that they expect Watt to play a big role in improving their pass rush in 2017.
“Going up against the first team offense has been really good for me. Kinda to just get a feel for the game.”
His football IQ and ability to pick things up on the fly have been two aspects which have been praised. Given his football family background, it’s fair to say he’s in better shape than most rookies, allowing him to focus on the playbook and the nuances of the position than just overall baseline conditioning, a critical aspect to earning Mike Tomlin’s confidence.
Joey Porter said today his learning curve was easier after playing in a similarly structured Wisconsin defense.
Yesterday, Keith Butler again stressed the need to improve the Steelers’ four man rush, allowing them to drop seven into coverage and play more conventional defense overall. Watt should see upwards of 500 snaps this season. If he can even touch five sacks and several additional pressures, it’ll be a good year for him.
And for the Steelers’ defense.