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Steelers OLB T.J. Watt Believes Reduced Reps Will Help Him Long-Term

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PITTSBURGH — When T.J. Watt came to play on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, he knew that his snap count would not nearly be as high as it has been in the past, with Watt coming on an extremely abbreviated preseason and week of practice.

However, he was as productive as ever before in the game, notching two sacks amidst a dominant rotation with Melvin Ingram and Alex Highsmith as his partners in crime. It is something that has led to speculation on if the rotation will continue in this manner, and Watt hopes it will.

“It’s tough coming off camp where I haven’t really practiced a lot,” Watt said. “I mean, I felt great last week. I knew I was gonna have fresh legs. I felt good in the fourth quarter. I’m sure that taking a couple of reps off, whereas last year this time we were playing 80 or 90 of the snaps with me and Bud. To be able to knock that down just by 10 will help in the long term. I’m sure we’ll see that pay off soon here.”

Watt did indeed knock that down by 10. He played the most out of all the linebackers with 69 snaps. Ingram played 54 while Highsmith played 46. If what Watt said is believed to be true, it means the Steelers could use a similar rotation to keep Watt a little bit fresher when crunch time rolls around.

Whether that does continue will remain to be seen, but keeping Watt at a solid snap count around 70 sounds about right unless circumstances require him to play a higher volume of snaps. Otherwise, the Steelers might get even more production than they did last year with a slightly fresher Watt.

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