Transition to left side has taken T.J. Watt’s game to next level

Getty Images

Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt had seven sacks in all of 2017. This year, he has six in five games.

The second-year standout picked up a trio of sacks on Sunday against the Falcons. He also forced a fumble and had three separate tackles for loss in a dominant defensive performance for a franchise that desperately needed one.

So what has happened? Watt told PFT by phone after the game that the increased sack production has happened as a direct result of his move from the right side to the left side. Although the suggestion came from the coaching staff, Watt said he was “gung ho” about the opportunity, knowing that he’d be more effective from that angle.

Watt separately attributed his success to the fact that he has spent time studying not only opposing tackles on film but also himself and other pass rushers, searching for ideas on how to improve his game. And it has worked.

Sure, Watt drew a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty on Sunday when he seemed to simply graze the leg of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Watt said he understood that low hits on the quarterback get called, even though he stumbled into Ryan and tried to pull his arms back.

“Hopefully it won’t hit me in the pocket,” Watt said. “It sucked to give up 15 yards of field position.”

Watt explained that he’s not worrying about potential flags and fines while playing, citing the inconsistency from referee to referee as the basis for just playing football and letting the flags, and quarterbacks, fall where they may.

So far this year, T.J. Watt has caused quarterbacks to fall six times. His brother J.J. Watt has five. Is there a competition between them?

“It’s unspoken,” T.J. Watt said, acknowledging that they’re trying to “one-up each other” whenever they can.

So does that mean T.J. will be rooting for J.J. not to get any sacks on Sunday night against the Cowboys?

“No, never,” T.J. said. “I’ll go home and look for a 99 jersey and I’ll be his biggest fan.”

24 responses to “Transition to left side has taken T.J. Watt’s game to next level

  1. Wow. So going against a RT or TE is easier that going against a LT? Can’t believe how much I learn about FB on this site.

  2. the guy is a one trick pony

    collecting sacks is not playing a pure, all around position

    the pats will absolutely embarrass him. just watch

    pitt is so desperate to promote a defensive player, he is that guy with the known name

    so overrated

  3. tylawspick6 says:
    October 7, 2018 at 8:13 pm
    the guy is a one trick pony

    collecting sacks is not playing a pure, all around position

    the pats will absolutely embarrass him. just watch

    pitt is so desperate to promote a defensive player, he is that guy with the known name

    so overrated

    ———————————————

    You couldn’t analyse pee wee football. In addition to high sack numbers, Watt has been solid in the area of QB pressures as well as numerous clutch tackles in key situations preventing big gains by runners. And your Patriots are old and slow as we saw with their big choke in the Superbowl.

  4. The Clowney jerk is whining when he has to play on the left. I guess Watt is a pro and Clowney will always be the underwhelming fraud that he has been. True Clown.

  5. tylaw still hasn’t gotten over losing the Super Bowl to a backup quarterback and getting curbstomped by Detroit.

  6. You couldn’t analyse pee wee football. In addition to high sack numbers, Watt has been solid in the area of QB pressures as well as numerous clutch tackles in key situations preventing big gains by runners. And your Patriots are old and slow as we saw with their big choke in the Superbowl.

    10 2 Rate This

    ————-

    was philly’s d old and slow in the sb? just checking

    and that philly d lost today to a feeble offense at home

    hint: Pitt’s d sucks big time overall ,and has for years..they will get tuned up by a good offense that knows how to handle one trick ponies like watt

    his brother has never done jack squat vs the pats allowing 30 pts per game in his sleep

    the pats will demolish watt and his stupid, meangingless sacks

    this is exactly why pitt’s d is so mediocre..self glorifying overrated players who are one dimensional

  7. You couldn’t analyse pee wee football. In addition to high sack numbers, Watt has been solid in the area of QB pressures as well as numerous clutch tackles in key situations preventing big gains by runners. And your Patriots are old and slow as we saw with their big choke in the Superbowl.

    10 2 Rate This

    ————-

    was philly’s d old and slow in the sb? just checking

    and that philly d lost today to a feeble offense at home

    hint: Pitt’s d sucks big time overall ,and has for years..theywill get tuned up by a good offense that knows how to handle one trick ponies like watt

    his brother has never done jack squat vs the pats allowing 30 pts per game in his sleep

    the pats will demolish watt and his stupid, meangingless sacks

    this is exactly why pitt’s d is so mediocre..self glorifying overrated players who are one dimensional

  8. Poor Pats fan are so insecure that they continue to embarrass themselves simply because they can hide behind their keyboard. They still can’t deal with being slammed in the SB, losing to the Lions, and still can’t admit their team cheated badly to win games (per the NFL).

  9. The biggest positive for the Steelers in switching the sides of the OLBs is that the weekly opponent has to waste their left tackle on worthless Bud Dupree.

  10. #87 edge defender. 3.5 of those sacks were against the Browns week 1 (and not Joe Thomas…), 3 against Ryan Schraeder, none in the other 3 games, so the sack total is somewhat inflated.

    Besides which his all around game has stunk. Might as well be a situation pass rusher. He certainly hasn’t played like an every down linebacker in the NFL any more than Bud Dupree has, and it’s reflected in the overall performance of the Steelers D.

  11. notwhoyouthinkitis says:
    October 7, 2018 at 10:05 pm
    Poor Pats fan are so insecure that they continue to embarrass themselves simply because they can hide behind their keyboard.
    ___________________________

    We’re last place in the division behind the Browns. We’re in no position to accuse another fan base of being embarrassed.

  12. “pitt is so desperate to promote a defensive player, he is that guy with the known name”

    ——-

    Remind me, who is the leading sacker for New England?

    I agree, Pittsburgh’s defense is not good. But be realistic. The kid has potential, and is playing well.

  13. Watt is good but he is inconsistent, just like his predecessors Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree (SEC mega-busts). He needs to put together a streak of solid performances because when it comes to playoff time, he CANNOT do his disappearing act every other week.

  14. I wish BB would pick guys like him instead of short, injury prone guards and run-of-the-mill RBs

  15. Wow. So going against a RT or TE is easier that going against a LT? Can’t believe how much I learn about FB on this site.

    Another look at me Pats fan making an article about the Steelers about him instead. I am surprised that he said he could learn… I always felt the knew everything already….just ask him.

    Watt is only going to get better as he becomes more of a student of the position.

  16. Pats fan envy. They know he’s good, that’s the only reason to come here and put him down.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!