‘No Thank You’: T.J. Watt Needs No Half Of Inexperienced Dot After Attempting It One Recreation In Blowout Loss

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ lack of personnel stability at the inside linebacker position for the past half-decade has had a ripple effect on their chain of communication. It’s typically the every-down linebacker who has the speaker in his helmet and receives the defensive calls from the sideline.

But they haven’t had a consistent presence there since Ryan Shazier was injured. They once even tried to give it to outside linebacker T.J. Watt. They tried it out for one game. He didn’t like it. They never tried it again.

“They tried to give me the green dot one year. I was like, ‘This is way too much going on. No thank you’”, he said on the Pardon My Take podcast last week. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘green dot’, the helmet with the speaker in it is marked with a green dot to identify it. Teams are only permitted to have one such helmet on the field at a time.

The game in question was the season opener in 2019, the year they opened on the road against the New England Patriots. They were slaughtered, losing 33-3, the most points they would give up the entire season. Watt had just two tackles and zero sacks in the game. And he never wore it again.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t know the defense well enough for anything like that, but it’s just not his game. And if it’s not something you’re comfortable with, you don’t want to burden your star player with that responsibility. But like everybody else, he still has a communication role.

“I say I’m a donkey man. Just tell me what to do and I’m gonna do it”, he said. “I’ll tell you if the Y [tight end] is off [the line of scrimmage], I’ll tell you have he’s gonna wrap it. Other than that, I’m just gonna let my instincts take over and try to play the best football I can play”.

I would say he’s done a pretty good job of that. He recorded 14.5 sacks that season after shedding the shackles of the dot along with a league-leading and career-high eight forced fumbles, not to mention two interceptions. He made first-team All-Pro for the first time and finished third in the running for Defensive Player of the Year.

And as you might have noticed, he only continued to get better after that. But still the question remains who will wear the green dot for the Steelers’ defense going forward. Chances are at least one of Myles Jack or Robert Spillane will be here, and they would be the most likely in-house candidates. Jack wore it at the start of the year, but Spillane took over.

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