2022 South Side Questions: Will We See T.J. Watt On The Field Again This Season?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: Will we see T.J. Watt on the field again this season?

Is any Steelers fan not asking themselves this question today? Their best player suffered a potentially season-ending injury during yesterday’s game, the fact that they escaped with a win providing small solace for the greater loss.

T.J. Watt suffered what appeared to be a torn pectoral muscle in his left arm while attempting to sack Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow late in the game. He immediately exited, and it has been widely reported that the Steelers fear exactly what it looked like. He is scheduled for testing today to determine the severity of the injury.

It’s certainly possible that the news is bad, that he misses the remainder of the season. But the possibility of him being able to work his way back before the year ends, especially if the Steelers manage to make it into the postseason, is very much in play, as well.

Coming into this season, the expectation was that the defense would take this time as far as it goes, because the offense was going to lag behind. The opener did nothing to dissuade those who already thought that, as they barely squeaked by with a win in a game in which the defense produced five turnovers and seven sacks.

Watt had one of each on his own, and certainly his impact on the game went beyond the statistics. Behind Watt they have only Malik Reed and Jamir Jones as backups on the 53-man roster. Even Hamilcar Rashed Jr. is on the Practice Squad/Injured List right now. Delontae Scott would be the next man up. Could they go out and add  yet another veteran pass rusher to replace him? Maybe even make a trade?

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