T.J. Watt Named The Most Intimidating LB In The NFL On GMFB

One often overlooked quality when it comes to the best defensive players in football is the intimidation factor they bring against opposing offenses.

Over the years, Pittsburgh has had intimidating defenders like James Harrison, Jack Lambert, and “Mean” Joe Greene to name a few that struck fear into the hearts of their competition. According to Jason McCourty on GMFB, Pittsburgh currently has a LB following in their footsteps, naming T.J. Watt as the player at the position that offenses have to respect and fear facing on Sundays.

“So, we’re going to talk about the most intimidating linebacker in the league right now, and I’m starting with T.J. Watt: former Defensive Player of the Year,” McCourty said on GMFB. “T.J., when he’s on the field, he is just absolutely dominant, and he changes everything for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When he’s on the field, offenses average 10 less points… 100 less yards. They need him out there sack after sack, setting the tempo on the edge.”

Watt’s presence, or lack thereof, was greatly felt after he got injured in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed the next seven games with a pec injury that caused him to go on IR. Pittsburgh would go on to win just one of those contests, seeing their sacks and takeaways drop while yards and points allowed rose significantly without Watt in the lineup.

Watt’s impact on the Steelers’ defense was evident last season, a year removed from winning Defensive Player of the Year. The Steelers were a completely different team when he returned after the bye, playing more stout on the defensive side of the ball and providing the offense with takeaways and good field position for them to successfully close out games and go 7-2 down the stretch. While Watt may not have lit it up in the stat sheet in sacks, he found plenty of other ways to impact the game and give opposing defenses fits.

Watt should be the most intimidating linebacker in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers were a completely different team without him, lacking that Defensive Player of the Year-caliber player who can single-handedly wreck games and make splash plays when the team needs it most. He tied the NFL single-season sack record in 2021 and is almost impossible to block 1-on-1 for opposing OTs.

It’s hard to argue another linebacker, inside or outside, who has the same value and impact that Watt does to their respective team. With a full offseason to get healthy, Steelers fans should be excited to see Watt tear it up in 2023 and showcase what we have become accustomed to seeing him do.

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