Steelers: 3 players who must step up to replace T.J. Watt

T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 3
Malik Reed, Steelers
Sep 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Malik Reed (50) reacts after the field goal by the Cincinnati Bengals is incomplete in overtime at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers T.J. Watt replacements: Jamir Jones and Malik Reed

The Steelers do need to somewhat replace Watt — quite literally — in his absence. While they can replace him by committee, Reed should get the first shot at doing so.

When asked about Watt’s injury after the game, most of the Steelers’ defenders preached a next man up mentality.

“Next man up,” cornerback Cam Sutton said. “That’s the sad part of this business is you’re never going to dwell on it because you have to keep moving on week in and week out and all those good cliche-type stuff. But you hate to see that for anybody, not just for T.J. but any of our brothers, man. Guys will be ready and have been willing and ready to be prepared for those opportunities that have arisen now. We will be ready for next week.”

Reed and Jones are those next men up. Reed is listed as the backup on Watt’s side, so he will start in his place until Jones proves he can be flexible.

“I know God has me here for a reason, for a purpose,” Reed said. “so I am ready embrace that. I had a lot of opportunities starting games (in Denver), so I am going to be ready for it.”

Reed is a former starter in Denver, so this isn’t a new role for him. He started 34 of his 45 games with the Broncos, which is why the Steelers were so eager to pick him up.

He’ll get his opportunity right away.

Next. NFL Twitter lost its mind over the Bengals-Steelers chaos. dark