2021 Exit Meetings – OLB T.J. Watt

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.

The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.

While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2021 season.

Player: T.J. Watt

Position: OLB

Experience: 5 Years

Considering there’s an excellent chance he’s going to be named the Defensive Player of the Year by the end of the week, I think we can kick things off by saying that T.J. Watt has a pretty good season in 2021. After all, he did tie the record for the most sacks ever recorded in a single season at 22.5. He also had five forced fumbles and 21 tackles for loss, and in the postseason, he recorded a recovered fumble that he returned for a touchdown, the first points of his career.

The only critique that you can really levy against him is staying healthy. He missed two games of the season due to injury, and extensive portions of four others, while playing in compromised fashion in still more, due to various nicks and ailments, starting with a groin injury and finishing with a rib injury.

His missed tackles were up this year, it can be said, and one can also acknowledge that he sometimes got caught playing the pass too much, being overly aggressive and losing in the process, but that comes part and parcel with his successes.

The Steelers just paid him a substantial amount of money not too long ago, and he delivered handsomely in response in his first season under a new contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the game. It would be fitting to see him crowned the Defensive Player of the Year at the end of it, after finishing in third place two years ago, and as runner-up last year.

The bottom line is Watt is performing at historically great levels. As long as his body holds up, he is clearly on a trajectory that will leave him with a bust in Canton, and perhaps some NFL records along the way.

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