TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick to strengthen Steelers defense

For different reasons, Watt and Fitzpatrick were left out of Pittsburgh’s defensive apparatus, but they return this week.

PITTSBURGH – After playing without several key members of their defense a week ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be closer to maximum strength against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

TJ Watt, who missed Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, did not have an injury designation on the final practice report. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is ready after a 10-day stay on the list of reserve / COVID-19. Meanwhile, Joe Haden, who also missed the Los Angeles match Chargers, is questionable.

“I’m very happy about that,” the defensive coordinator responded on Thursday. Keith Butler. “The possibility of getting the other guys back too, that always helps. The last time we played against them, we also lost a couple of people. That those guys come back and can play means a lot to us. It means a lot to everyone around. on the field because they are used to playing with each other. “

Watt, who missed the Week 3 loss to the Bengals With a groin injury, he injured his knee and hip in a fourth-quarter sack against the Detroit Lions two weeks ago, while Haden sprained his foot in the same game.

“It just rolled weird and the knee felt a bit unstable at the time,” Watt described. “I went to get up, and when I got up, I realized that I had a lot of discomfort in my hip; I felt discomfort in both the knee and the hip.”

“And luckily, it was nothing too serious, and I feel so much better.”

Watt participated fully in practice on Friday after being limited all week, while Haden missed out on Wednesday, but was limited on Thursdays and Fridays. Fitzpatrick he returned to practice on Thursday.

“When you have 10 days you cannot exercise, you think you would not be in good shape, but I came back yesterday for my first practice and I felt good,” he said. Fitzpatrick on Friday, adding that he had little to no symptoms other than a headache. “There were no problems running, no problems breathing, nothing like that. I feel good.”

For Fitzpatrick, missing Sunday’s game was a rarity.

“That was my first lost game since I’ve been in the league, and it was very different just watching it, especially a very important game for us on Sunday night against a great team,” he said.

While the trio stayed at home watching the defense of the Steelers try to keep up with Justin Herbert’s offense and the ChargersThey leaned on each other in group talk.

“It just sucks,” he said Watt about not playing. “It sucks to text Minkah and Joe during the last game because you see all the effort the guys are putting in and trying to run the team with guys like Cam Sutton and Cam Heyward. It sucks when you know you can help, but you’re not healthy. It’s a feeling of helplessness, but at the same time it’s more motivation to get back and be healthy as quickly as possible and start impacting the games again. “