While the rest of the team deals with its issues, T.J. Watt is having another productive season in 2023. Over the past two years, injuries have slowed the former Defensive Player of the Year a bit, and he hasn't been winning his pass rush reps as frequently as he did in the past.
When you look at each game individually, you can almost always point to Watt being one of the best players on the team week in and week out. However, one of the league's most important defenders has hit a bit of a wall as of late.
In back-to-back games against the Cardinals and Patriots, Watt had a chance to rack up more production against a bad football team. Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan. Watt managed just 0.5 sacks over the past two weeks and posted his two lowest PFF grades of the seaso..
This greatly impacted his odds in the 2023 Defensive Player of the Year race. Though he was once almost even with Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett, Watt has since plummeted. His odds of taking home the prestigious award for the second time in his career are now +650, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
There are several reasons why this could be the case. The biggest is no doubt his dip in production over the past two contests. While 14.0 sacks on the season is still an impressive mark that is currently good for 2nd in the NFL, he doesn't have everything going for him that Parsons and Garrett have right now.
Quite frankly, this is often a team award, and the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers have performed so poorly at times this year isn't helping to make the case for Watt as the Defensive Player of the Year.
T.J. Watt shouldn't win DPOY in 2023
As much as it pains me to say this, it's hard to make a strong case as to why T.J. Watt should be the Defensive Player of the Year in 2023. Looking back on his career, Watt was a better player on film in 2020, 2019, and 2021 (last year he landed on IR with a pectoral injury).
While Watt is still the best player on the Steelers, his efficiency on a per-snap basis has dipped this year. Additionally, the Steelers' defense has really struggled at times this season. We also can't ignore how dominant both Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett have been this season. Both players boast a top NFL defense this year and have made quarterback's lives a nightmare this season.
T.J. Watt could probably retire today and make the Hall of Fame. But if I'm being as objective as possible, he's not the most deserving player of this award in 2023. If both he and the Steelers can pour it on during the season's final stretch, that could potentially sway voters when it comes time for the end-of-the-season awards.