At the annual NFL award show, Steelers linebacker and Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY), T.J. Watt, decreed he was more motivated than ever. The sound of him saying those simple words was music to many Pittsburgh Steelers fans’ ears, but how realistic is it for a player to improve upon one of the greatest defensive seasons in football history? The youngest Watt brother was truly dominant on the field putting up mind-boggling numbers, as well as some of the most clutch performances of this past season.
The only sort of stain on T.J. Watt’s glorious 2021 season was the fact he missed multiple games, and portions of a lot more games, because of a few different injuries. If Watt can stay healthy for a full 17-game season, and he can maintain the production he had on the field in 2021, there really is no reason to doubt his ability to break all the major defensive category stat lines. It still boggles my mind how much of an impact T.J. Watt had on the Steelers win-loss column this season.
Could a completely healthy Watt push the Steelers back into the playoffs next year? Because he nearly did it by himself in 2021.
Statistically, it is hard to envision any NFL player, let alone Watt, make a play for the NFL sacks in a season record. The 22.5 sacks Watt put up this year is a truly special total which takes a lot more than just talent to achieve. When we think of the rest of the players on the defense along with Watt, it is important to note how these records would be impossible with just a great individual player. It is more than likely that Watt’s career high sack total in a season will be 22.5 sacks even when he calls it a career. What he did this year is truly remarkable and expecting it to happen on a yearly basis really isn’t fair to any player.
But, I don’t think I will ever question a Watt brother’s work ethic, or the ability to prove the doubters wrong. Considering what T.J., J.J., and even Derek have been able to achieve in their NFL careers is truly remarkable. When you look at how the brothers push themselves, I can envision T.J. entering next training camp in the best shape of his career, and ready to dominate the NFL like no one has before.
But what do you think? Will T.J. Watt actually be able to grow on his historic 2021 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.