T.J. Watt has finally graduated from playing behind Joe Schobert at Wisconsin to playing with Schobert for the Steelers.
"It's funny, I always tell people he was my backup in college," Schobert explained following practice today at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. "I taught him one move, the chop-dip. I never see him use the chop-dip. He has his own things and he's taken it way further than I ever took it at outside linebacker.
"It's good to be back with him, though. He's a fun guy to be around."
Watt's first 11-on-11 participation in a practice since the beginning of training camp revealed to Schobert a state of readiness on Watt's part Schobert anticipated given the history the two share.
"T.J.'s a professional," Schobert continued. "I train with him in the offseason back in Waukesha (Wisc.) sometimes. He takes his job extremely seriously. So no matter what, wherever you wanna play, you wanna put him in a parking lot, whatever, he's gonna be ready to play a football game.
"T.J.'s great, you know what kind of football player he is. If he's on the football field, he's gonna make a lot of plays and he's gonna be good for our defense."
The Steelers prepare for the Week 1 matchup against the Buffalo Bills
Added head coach Mike Tomlin on Watt: "I thought he looked good. He was engaged. He's been a full participant in walk-throughs and things of that nature.
"He's a smart guy. He can learn from watching others and it's evident in watching him work today."
Tomlin said the Steelers have nothing "uniquely scheduled" the rest of this week to get Watt ready for Sunday's regular-season opener at Buffalo, a game in which Watt's participation is anticipated.
"Like I said (Tuesday), I'm proceeding with that assumption," Tomlin said.
Schobert, who arrived in a preseason trade with Jacksonville, also spoke with anticipation about playing regular-season games with fellow inside linebacker Devin Bush.
Schobert played last season with the Jaguars after spending his first four NFL seasons in Cleveland.
"Devin, honestly, reminds me a lot of Myles Jack down in Jacksonville," Schobert said. "He's a young guy, he's got a lot of enthusiasm out there. He's obviously blessed athletically, that's why he went Top 10 in the draft, had a great career at Michigan.
"I've leaned on him a lot coming here because it's a brand new scheme for me and it's his third year in it and he's been great to talk to on the field. Pre-snap he's been a great communicator, so I'm excited to see what we're able to do this year."
The game in Buffalo will be Schobert's first regular-season assignment with the Steelers and second in the NFL against Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Schobert recalled one play in particular from their initial meeting, a pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley on the hash marks.
"I saw (Allen) eyeing (Beasley) up and I made my break as (Allen's) arm was in motion and the ball got there before I could dive and make a play on it," Schobert said. "I think he went from just a gunslinger, flamethrower guy his rookie year to really starting to understand X's & O's.
"He's putting the ball accurately when he's on the move to his receivers, (Stefon) Diggs, Beasley, the tight ends. I think (Allen's) really grown in his understanding of the game and he knows the personnel around him, knows how to throw to guys.
"He knows what to expect and you can see that in his accuracy has improved over the course of three years a lot."