Steelers’ T.J. Watt looking for extensive playing time against Titans
T.J. Watt played almost the entire first half of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ second preseason game, and he’s looking forward to suiting up against the Tennessee Titans in the dress rehearsal for the regular season.
After missing the entire 2018 preseason schedule with a hamstring injury, Watt isn’t about to pass up a chance to take some snaps, even in an exhibition game.
“I didn’t have the preseason last year, so to be able to have it this year is big for me,” Watt said Friday. “I feel like I’m able to go out and try different things.”
Watt led the Steelers with 13 sacks in 2018, so missing the preseason didn’t impact his play at outside linebacker. Still, he wants to expand his arsenal of pass-rush moves and believes this is the time to do it.
“You can’t be afraid this time of the year to try stuff and put yourself out there and try stuff that might not look good on film,” Watt said. “You just want to try to figure out who you are and always try to adapt your game. I’m always trying new stuff, and I feel like the preseason is a great time for that.”
Watt got off to a slow start to this preseason, tweaking his hamstring in the conditioning test that is held on reporting day to training camp. Watt began the season on the physically unable to perform list, but he has amped up his work in recent weeks. He played 36 snaps against Kansas City last Saturday.
“I feel phenomenal,” he said. “I feel great, and it’s exactly where I want to be heading into the regular season in a few weeks.”
First, he has to get through the tuneup Sunday against the Titans. Watt said the game will be treated the same as any other preseason game even though it’s the one game in August in which most starters dress and play.
“You can’t change because there’s different people in the game,” he said. “You’re doing a disservice to everybody else if you have a whole different outlook on how you’re going to go out there and play the game if you’ve got different people in there.
“It doesn’t matter who is in the game, we’re going to go out there and attack the game the same.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .