2022 South Side Questions: Will Steelers Open T.J. Watt’s 21-Day Window Before The Bye?

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 the Steelers open T.J. Watt’s 21-day activation window before the bye week?

While Steelers fans were excited yesterday about the news of one defensive player beginning to make his way back from the Reserve/Injured List, we all know that’s not the news that everybody has been waiting for.

It’s great to hear that safety Damontae Kazee is back practicing, which indicates that he should be able to return to the field within a few weeks. But what fans really want to know is when they will see outside linebacker T.J. Watt again.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year suffered a strained pectoral muscle and a knee injury in the season opener, prior to which he had already recorded a sack and an interception. He has missed the past five games, during which the team has gone 1-4 without him and has really struggled to generate consistent pressure.

News of Watt having a cleanup procedure on his knee was met with frustration by fans who worried that it would push back his timeline for return, especially since it’s already been torture having to watch the season without him.

With this week’s practices wrapped up, the Steelers have only one more week, preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles, before heading into their bye. Will Watt be back on the field by then, with an eye toward being ready to get back on the field in week 10?

Any game for which they have him on the field is tremendously valuable, so every week counts. That is especially the case considering how tight the AFC North division is. The Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals are both 3-3, while the Steelers and Cleveland Browns are sitting at 2-4.

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