T.J. Watt looking to make ‘more splash’ on Steelers defense
T.J. Watt was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker believes he has more to offer in his third NFL season.
“More splash. More plays,” Watt said Wednesday after the fifth Steelers organized team activity at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. “I think I left a lot of plays out there. I feel like I definitely got into a rhythm toward the end of the season and got more comfortable in all aspects of the game, not just the pass rush.”
The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Watt led the Steelers with 13 sacks, 21 quarterback hits and six forced fumbles and was fourth with 68 tackles last season after switching to the left side. He played on the right side as a rookie, when Watt had 52 tackles, seven sacks, 13 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and an interception.
“I’m way more comfortable on the left side,” Watt said. “This is my first true year on the left side after a year under my belt. I feel like I’ll have a lot more moves for you to see this year, hopefully, and we just create more splash in rundowns, too. I feel like I can definitely improve on run defense always.”
Watt said that he and fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who had 5 ½ sacks last season, are bringing out the best in each other at Steelers OTA practices and is counting on that to translate to games next season.
“We both understand that we’re really good athletes and we look up to each other,” Watt said. “It’s good to have that kind of star power when I go up against Bud because Bud is a heck of an athlete. He can do some things that I can’t do and I can do some things he can’t do so we’re definitely always pushing each other in that aspect of the game. …
“I think we’ll be in for a treat this year.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .