Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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When you think about the Pittsburgh Steelers one of the first things that comes to mind is the Steel Curtain. That defense was led by linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham. Then there was the next wave of Steelers linebackers which included Jason Gildon, Joey Porter, and eventually James Harrison. It always seems like Pittsburgh has a talented defender at the mid level and their latest star is definitely T.J Watt. Watt came out and recorded 4 sacks in his first game against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers underperformed as a whole but if you take T.J Watt out of the situation Pittsburgh might have lost that game. Both teams ended up tying 21-21 however Watt’s performance was on another level. When you have an edge defender that can rush the passer and swallow up the run on every snap. You have a complete football player who can change the outcome of games. Watt didn’t just make Tyrod Taylor’s day rough he also tee’d off on Jarvis Landry on a shuttle pass. It’s plays like that which make the offense timid and the other players on the Steelers defense rally around Watt. They know if their top guy is playing well they have a shot to go against some of the best the league has to offer. Everything else seems to fall into the place from there. The secondary also gets a huge boost from playing with Watt. If the quarterback is under pressure than they’re much more likely to throw ill-advised passes. Then guys like Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, and Artie Burns have to break on those routes. It all starts with Watt getting after it though and winning at the line of scrimmage. The other challenge for the 23 year old (Watt) is how long can he sustain this high level of play? Watt has to come out and do this every single week. Based off everything we’ve seen against the Browns it’s very likely he’ll do so.
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T.J Watt is the Steelers next great linebacker.