Despite Steelers star linebacker TJ Watt picking up an injury in opening weekend expecting to keep him out for six weeks, defensive lineman Cameron Heyward says that the Pittsburgh side ‘will not reinvent the wheel’.
TJ Watt is the current reigning defensive player of the year so will be sorely missed by the Steelers, however teammate Heyward seems to be remaining calm with his linebacker out.
“Obviously, you don’t want to play without a guy like that, but guys gotta step up.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re not going out there saying that we have to change up our entire scheme and stuff, but we just gotta make sure we do our jobs.”
Someone else confident in the Steelers defense without Watt is Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who mentioned that without Watt the defense would have to adjust, but it wouldn’t fall apart.
“It’s gonna change because he’s not there,” Austin said. “Obviously, everybody knows what he does really well, which is a lot of things, but I think structurally we’re gonna remain the same.
“We’re gonna do the things that we think are good, that are sound fundamentally. … We know we may not get the type of production T.J. had, but if we get good, solid varsity players, we’re gonna be fine.”
With Watt out for the foreseeable, Alex Highsmith is expected to fill the vacated role for the Steelers over the next month or so.
The 25-year old will feature in a more prominent role for the Steelers this weekend in a tough test against the Patriots, following a good performance on opening weekend with three sacks and nine tackles in the win against the Cincinnati Bengals.