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Steelers’ Mike Tomlin ‘confident’ in depth behind T.J. Watt

The Pittsburgh Steelers may not have T.J. Watt on Sunday, but Mike Tomlin feels good about his linebackers.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Conor Courtney/Getty Images

For the first time all season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to play without T.J. Watt, who suffered a gruesome knee injury in the team’s Week 18 win against the Baltimore Ravens.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Steelers are in the playoffs on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, but Pittsburgh doesn’t see the sky falling. Coach Mike Tomlin is confident with the depth behind Watt.

You know, it hadn’t been a lot of times where I think about not having T.J. (Watt) to be quite honest with you. But we’ve got depth at that position. That’s why we went out and thoughtfully acquired Markus Golden. That’s why we drafted (Nick) Herbig. We’re as deep at that position as we’ve been in some time. We’re comfortable with the quality of depth. (Kyron) Johnson has had a helmet for the last number of weeks, although his contributions have been primarily on special teams. There’s another guy at the position that knows what to do that’s available to us. And so, we have an appropriate number of people. We have guys that are capable. We have guys that have been here. We have guys that know what to do. So, we’re going utilize all of that.

With Watt out, the likeliest players to see an uptick in playing time are Nick Herbig and Markus Golden. Neither have started a game this season, but the two have seven sacks combined between the pair of them in limited playing time.

The key to beating the Bills is pressuring Josh Allen as much as possible, and without contributions from the Steelers’ outside linebackers, they may as well kiss their season goodbye. However, coach Tomlin has faith in his defense and the unit will do its best with what it has.

The Steelers and Bills are set to kick off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday inside Highmark Stadium.