TJ Watt and Bud Dupree will be no more in Pittsburgh going forward. The Steelers will replace Dupree with Alex Highsmith who has shown he is able to produce in the NFL at a high level. Highsmith's season didn't end according to plan with him hurting his ankle in 2020, but he showed flashes during his rookie season that we did not see with Bud Dupree during his rookie year. If Highsmith can find a way to stay healthy on the football field in 2021 he will take the next step in his career in order to become an elite-level edge rusher, but for now TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith need to find a way to gel together on the field.
Mini-Camp is going to start this week for the Pittsburgh Steelers and this will be the first opportunity for both TJ and Highsmith to find a way to gel on the football field. Granted they did get to play together once Bud Dupree went down with a season injury in 2020 this will be different because both will have an opportunity to work with each other through training camp. That will make a tremendous difference in how they will see how each other operate on and off of the football field.
TJ Watt says he is really looking forward to working with Alex Highsmith in 2021. The last five or six games at the end of the season gave them a good look at how they can gel together going forward especially in how they can improve things collectively on the football field. Watt says the process between Highsmith and himself is going to start during camp especially in regards to the communication with the whole front five.
Watt is ready to build chemistry with Highsmith: "I think the big thing is pass rush," said Watt of what Highsmith brings." He has a great repertoire of moves already coming off his rookie year. He can spin, he can do his ghost move, he is developing more power in his game. I think that is a real high positive. I also think he handles the run well. It's just a matter of being more consistent for the both of us. I think that is the biggest challenge of being an NFL player, trying to be consistent week in and week out. I have said it time and time again. Anybody can have a great game. It's about putting together great weeks and a great season. That starts with being here at minicamp."
TJ Watt did call Alex Highsmith a very talented pass rusher and he feels if guys want to start sliding toward his side during the 2021 season then Highsmith is going to get plenty of one-on-one opportunities going forward. Watt is very confident Highsmith can win those one-on-one opportunities as well. It was very interesting to hear the confidence Watt has for Highsmith as he said he doesn't think NFL teams will be able to protect both sides while both Highsmith and himself are on the football field.