The Steelers Watt is just getting started
By: Will Baptist
J.J. Watt is one of the most dominant forces to ever rush the passer. His career is not over by any means, but if injuries did not slow him down in Houston, he could arguably be the best defender in NFL history. He is a 3x Defensive Player of the Year, 5x First-Team All-Pro, 2x NFL sacks leader and is sitting at 101 career sacks with plenty left in the tank.
His resume speaks for itself, while he continues to terrorize opposing quarterbacks at 32 years old. Matching that type of production is not an easy task, but his younger brother, T.J. Watt, may be up to the challenge. T.J. Watt is only 26 years old, and already has quite the resume. He is a 2x First-team All-Pro, 3x Pro Bowler and a 1x NFL sack leader. He is sitting at 49.5 sacks and is not slowing down anytime soon.
With that type of production, it is not out of the realm of possibility that T.J. Watt can match his brother’s resume, or even surpass it. He has a few factors that could propel him to do just that, while J.J. Watt’s career is somewhat dwindling down. Here are the three reasons why T.J. Watt can pass J.J. Watt’s career resume.
1. T.J. Watt Plays Outside Linebacker
Both Watt brothers have versatility and can play multiple positions on the defensive front. T.J. has the luxury of being faster and quicker than J.J. This allows him to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which makes it more difficult to double him. Considering how far out he is lined up, the tackle is normally on an island, with tight ends and running backs having to help the tackle slow him down. J.J. is easier to double and triple team, which he still continuously beats on a consistent basis. Considering how quick T.J. is, he can wreak havoc on opposing tackles all game, and he is just entering his prime. J.J. has to deal with guards and centers doubling him as opposed to a tackle and a tight end, which bodes well for T.J. going forward.
2. T.J. Watt Plays for the Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the epitome of what a dominant defense looks like. From the defensive line to the secondary, they are a force to be reckoned with. They lost a lot of talented players in free agency, but the Steelers will continue to rebuild and not skip a beat. A major issue throughout J.J.’s tenure in Houston was that he did not have the help that T.J. has in Pittsburgh. They had plenty of talented players in Houston, from Whitney Mercilus to Jadeveon Clowney, but their defense doesn’t come close to what the Steelers have in place from top to bottom. The Steelers have a ball hawking secondary, along with inside linebackers that can fly all over the field. This allows T.J. to get more coverage sacks, instead of having to beat his man solely with his moves.
3. The NFL is More Pass Heavy Than Ever
The NFL has shifted in how offenses operate, in terms of using running backs less and less. Granted, it is harder to hit the quarterback successfully due to the rule changes and how fast they are getting the ball out. Nonetheless, the NFL is more pass happy than it has ever been, with teams throwing 40-50 times on a regular basis. That allows for more opportunities for T.J. to rush the passer and rack up sacks. One rule change that will also benefit T.J. with his stats, is the new 17-game schedule. That is one more game per season where T.J. can dominant another poor offensive tackle. Considering the Steelers have never had a losing record under head coach Mike Tomlin, means that opposing teams are passing even more against the Steelers because they are likely losing the game. The opposing teams are playing catch up, and once again, that will help T.J. get sacks. All these factors will go into T.J. challenging his brother J.J. and matching or even surpassing the pristine resume he already has.