The Pittsburgh Steeler's defense will look a lot different going forward, with star linebacker T.J. Watt on injured reserve following a pectoral injury. Watt's value to the team is something that is not easily replaced and the Steelers will need other players to step up to fill the role.
Watt will be out for at least four games, but his absence is not causing the team to change its strategy and game plan.
Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward spoke about Watt's importance to the team and how the Steelers will adjust without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Heyward said the team will not completely alter its approach, but the loss of a player with Watt's skill level will be felt.
"Obviously, you don't want to play without a guy like that, but guys gotta step up," Heyward said of Watt, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. "We're not reinventing the wheel. We're not going out there saying that we have to change up our entire scheme and stuff, but we just gotta make sure we do our jobs."
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Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin echoed Heyward's thoughts, saying that it will be difficult, but the team will find ways to manage.
"It's gonna change because he's not there. Obviously, everybody knows what he does really well, which is a lot of things, but I think structurally we're gonna remain the same," Austin said. "We're gonna do the things that we think are good, that are sound fundamentally. ... We know we may not get the type of production T.J. had, but if we get good, solid varsity players, we're gonna be fine."
The Steelers face the Patriots next and with New England's offense struggling, the Steelers defense could have a big game.