Is there really such a thing as a rookie wall for NFL players to overcome? I suppose it really depends on the player. However, in the case of Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, he doesn’t believe it’s real in his case.
“No, there’s no rookie wall at all,” T.J. Watt said on Wednesday. “I think if I hit anything, I’m refreshed on the back-half of the season here. I feel great, I’m hungry, I’m just ready to get after it this week.”
Against the New England Patriots this past Sunday T.J. Watt saw a decrease in playing time as he was pulled off the field in lieu of a defensive lineman throughout the game due to scheme reasons related to the Steelers opponent. Because of that, Watt was asked on Wednesday if that resulted in him feeling and being fresher when he was on the field.
“No, being fresh is never an issue,” T.J. Watt said. “I feel I take great care of my body.”
The Steelers will play the Houston Texans on Monday and that means T.J. Watt will get to play against the team his older brother J.J. Watt plays for. While the older Watt won’t be able to play in the Christmas day game in Houston due to a broken leg that he suffered earlier this season, he said on Wednesday he’s looking forward to watching his younger brother play in person instead of on television.
“That is one of the only advantages of the unfortunate situation I am in is that I get to watch both of my brothers every week,” J.J. Watt said Wednesday during his media conference call. “I get to sit down and watch their games in depth and really focus on them. That’s been really nice for me. Just a lot of pride. You sit there on the couch, I am so proud of what they have accomplished, you watch them and it’s really a joy.”
J.J. Watt will likely get a chance to watch younger brother T.J. Watt face off against a very inexperienced left tackle on Monday as Texans rookie Julie’n Davenport might have to make his third career start in place of an injured Jeff Allen. Davenport has played all of 130 offensive snaps this season.
T.J. Watt enters the Monday game against the Texans with 6 sacks on the season. He and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster appear to currently be neck and neck in their battle to be voted the team’s rookie of the year in a few more weeks so the performance each ultimately has during Monday’s game could ultimately go a long way in determining which player ultimately wins the annual award. Additionally, T.J. Watt still has a chance at being the NFL’s rookie sack leader this season as he only trails Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson by 1.5 quarterback take-downs entering Week 16.