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T.J. Watt talks improvement, and the disappointing Steelers 2018 season

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For T.J. Watt, the 2018 season was a wake-up call.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers had high hopes for the 2018 season. After a 13-3 2017 season in his rookie season, T.J. Watt was ready for bigger and better things in 2018 — especially a deep playoff push.

None of that happened as the Steelers plunged to mediocrity after a six game winning streak dropped their record to 7-2-1, only to finish the season with a 9-6-1 record. Throughout the 2018 season one thing became evident — Watt has the look of a cornerstone player on the defense.

When he was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, some experts viewed the pick as a reach. However, when Watt produced 13 sacks in 2018, the first outside linebacker to reach double digit sacks since James Harrison did it almost a decade ago, the future looks extremely bright for the former Wisconsin product.

As the Steelers moved away from marquee names from those legendary 2000s defenses, they struggled to find players who could fill those monstrous shoes. When James Harrison, James Farrior, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu and even Brett Keisel all left, what ensued were several failed attempts to fill those spots.

Until Watt happened.

Watt has the look, and is now showing the improvement and production, of the next great Steelers defender to wear the black-and-gold.

After the season, Steelers.com spoke with Watt about the 2018 season, how disappointing it was, and where Watt goes from here. They do these type of interviews every season, but Watt gives thoughtful, and candid, answers to shine some light on where the defense goes from here.

Check out the interview below: