NFL Game Pass is running a ton of informative X’s and O’s breakdowns throughout the year, talking to current NFL players for a chance to pick their brain and break down tape. Recently, Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan served as one of their guests. In one clip, Lewan briefly broke down his 2017 matchup against Pittsburgh Steelers’ outside linebacker TJ Watt.
They looked at one play, the long touchdown given up by the Steelers’ defense early in the second half. You can check out the video from the NFL’s Youtube Channel here. The discussion about Watt begins at roughly the 2:14 mark.
“TJ is a big speed rush guy,” Lewan said before speaking more broadly about seeing the Watt’s. “I mean, the whole Watt family. They’re football royalty.”
Lewan, of course, sees big brother JJ twice a year when the Titans take on the Houston Texans.
TJ Watt using his speed rush is basically how he described himself a few weeks ago in a video breaking down his pass rush style.
“The number one thing I always tell young pass rushers is to have one move that works really well for you. So for me, it’s pretty much my speed. So I’ll always speed rush, speed rush, speed rush, start games with a speed rush, first few rushes of the game. So it gets [the offensive tackle] opened up, and I’m not showing any power. When you show so much speed, they have to cross over.”
And that’s how Watt attacked Lewan in the clip. Tried to win outside but Lewan was able to seal the edge.
Lewan did note he felt like he opened up his hips a bit too much and gave Watt a path to the inside he ultimately didn’t take. That’s one area where Watt has grown as a pass rusher and done a better job with his hand use and ability to counter. And that’s what he said in his recent video.
“Once you get them to cross over so many times, you find that one counter that looks like my speed and then you bull rush,” Watt said.
That’s a big reason why his sack total jumped from seven as a rookie to 13 as a sophomore. He also dropped far less into coverage, giving him more opportunities to rush the passer.
I know it’s only a brief look but it was interesting that for a moment, we got some insight into how an opposing linemen views and plans for Watt. Lewan and the Titans don’t play against the Steelers in 2019 unless the two teams meet up in the playoffs.