The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be without T.J. Watt after he suffered a pectoral injury. Does his absence mean Kenny Pickett will see the field sooner?
The Pittsburgh Steelers won a thriller this past Sunday in Cincinnati. However, as most people know, injuries were at the top of the headlines post-game. In a physical game that saw T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, and Najee Harris all leave the game due to injuries, it’s obvious why injuries were a topic of concern. Thankfully, quickly after the game, both Cam Heyward and Coach Mike Tomlin made it clear that Heyward’s injury isn’t a cause of concern.
On a less positive note, both Harris and Watt are expected to miss time. As for Najee, reports have come out saying that he “tweaked” his Lisfranc injury that he first injured earlier this preseason.
Initially, Harris is expected to miss a few weeks of action but has technically not yet been ruled out for the Steelers Week 2 matchup with the New England Patriots.
Unfortunately, Watt came down with the most concerning injury of the day. Late in the 4th quarter, Watt was seen running to the locker room grabbing his chest after a routine pass rush. Many reports believe that Watt has torn his pec, which if true, would likely sideline him for the remainder of the season.
While this has still not yet to have been confirmed, it certainly doesn’t look good for Watt and the Steelers defense, who looked great in Week 1 — forcing 5 turnovers and holding the Bengals to only 3.9 yards per carry on the ground.
If Watt did in fact tear his pec, the promising Steelers season might be over before it started. Watt is only a pass rusher, but the 2021 DPOY and single-season sack record holder is a vital part of this Steelers defense. But could Watt’s absence actually influence when rookie QB Kenny Pickett first sees the field?
Does T.J. Watt injury could affect Steelers QB situation?
It’s tough to say that the season would be lost because of this one injury, but Watt draws so much attention from opposing offenses and still forces turnovers and racks up big-time sack numbers. The production he brings is completely unreplaceable.
But how could this injury affect Kenny Pickett’s development? This is how.
If Watt does in fact miss the remainder of the season, the defense will be negatively affected, as well as the win total for the Steelers. Many journalists/analysts and betting sites had the Steelers winning anywhere from 6-9 games this season. Odds are with an injury to a player as important as Watt, this number will almost certainly lower, making Pittsburgh a longshot to make the post-season.
As of right now, Mitch Trubisky is looked at as the long-term starter. However, if the Steelers start to drop games due to poor offense and the lack of pass rush, Pickett could be inserted into the lineup a lot earlier than expected. Even though the Steelers ended up winning Sunday’s contest, the offense looked uninspired, to say the least. After all the Steelers only picked up 13 first downs and only picked up 267 total yards of offense.
If it wasn’t for the fantastic play of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense (led by Watt), the game would have certainly been out of reach, and many would have already had enough of the Mitch Trubisky experience. A lot of this is going to depend on Watt news, and how the team plays over the next few weeks, as the Steelers host a winless New England Patriots team before heading to Cleveland to play the Deshaun Watson-less Browns.
Both of these are winnable games, but if Pittsburgh’s offense stays stagnant, and the defense doesn’t look the same, don’t be surprised if Kenny Pickett is running out of the tunnel as soon as Week 4.