Although the Pittsburgh Steelers won their season opener, they lost All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt to a pectoral injury. He's expected to miss six weeks of action.
Watt's presence can legitimately change the course of a game. Last season, he had a record-tying 22.5 sacks.
While the Steelers know how impactful the reigning Defensive Player of the Year can be, they won't change their scheme just because he's out.
Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward discussed Watt's absence during a press conference this week.
Heyward's comments should make Pittsburgh fans feel a bit better about the defense heading into Week 2.
“Obviously, you don’t want to play without a guy like that, but guys gotta step up,” Heyward said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “We’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re not going out there saying that we have to change up our entire scheme and stuff, but we just gotta make sure we do our jobs.”
Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin made similar comments on Thursday.
"It's gonna change because he's not there," Austin said. "Obviously, everybody knows what he does really well, which is a lot of things, but I think structurally we're gonna remain the same."
The Steelers will face the New England Patriots in their home opener this Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.