Working his way back: If there is a silver lining for T.J. Watt to have missed most of training camp and the first two preseason games, it’s that his hamstring injury didn’t happen during the regular season.
“It’s better it happened this time of year than later,” said Watt on Saturday.
Watt said it’s been frustrating dealing with the injury, and even though the timing is better now than later, there really never is a good time to be sidelined.
“This is the time when you really gel as a unit and get better and really learn how to play off each other, especially with some new parts on defense, and me playing left side,” said Watt. “You want to play more and get more reps. I am just trying to be really smart with my body this time of year.”
Watt injured his hamstring on July 29, the team’s second padded practice of training camp and has been out since.
“I don’t know what causes more guys around the league to have (hamstring injuries), but any time you are going hard it can tighten up,” said Watt. “In my case I didn’t really have anything to show it was getting tight. Hopefully I will be back soon.”
Watt doesn’t have a definite timetable on his return, or if he will be ready for Saturday’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.
“We’re going to see how it goes and keeping working with (strength and conditioning coordinator) Gi (Garrett Giemont) and keep ramping it up and see if it will be ready for game time.”
The Steelers flipped Watt and Bud Dupree at outside linebacker during the offseason, with Watt moving to the left side, Dupree to the right. Dupree saw his first action of the preseason against the Packers, and while Watt wants the two of them out there working together soon, he also is comfortable that things will click just fine when he does get out there.
“I am confident once I am back healthy that I won’t have a problem playing the left side,” said Watt. “I think I will be all right.”
Big Dan: The pressure has been on Dan McCullers to produce after the Steelers have gotten very little production out of him in his first four seasons. McCullers has had a decent training camp and preseason, but more is still expected.
“Dan’s looked better,” said Cameron Heyward. “He still has to improve. I love the way he is coming off the ball and kicking center’s tails. He has to disengage and get off blocks. That is the next step. Dan is a big man and this is a big guy football league. If you can get him going the right direction it’s going to help us.”
He said it: Rookie Terrell Edmunds on how he is progressing in the defense and what he still needs to do.
“I feel as if I am pretty comfortable. It was nice going out there, competing. It’s just more work you are about to do this week. You have a whole different assignment this week.
“I need to keep on maintaining. We are going to keep on building off what we have been doing. I am not going to say I am going to do anything crazy different, at the end of the day we are still learning, still progressing as a team. We are going to keep maintaining, keep building.”