Fans debated who’s better between Myles Garrett and TJ Watt on Twitter.
The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers have two of the best pass rushers in the game in Myles Garrett and TJ Watt. Fans on both sides of the line, however, are trying to figure out who the better player between the two is. It’s an interesting debate for several reasons.
Firstly, they play different positions. While they may both be considered “EDGE” players by websites, Watt is an outside linebacker and Garrett is a defensive end. Yes, their primary responsibility is the same (cause pressure in the passing game) but the way they do it is entirely different.
That’s because, secondly, they play in different defensive schemes. Watt is an outside linebacker in a 3-4, while Garrett is an end in a 4-3. Both men could/would play the same position if they were in each other’s systems, but because they aren’t, both men end up having different responsibilities beyond just pass-rushing. For instance, Garrett is more relied upon to eat up gaps against the run, while Watt will drop back into coverage. This also means that the means by which they pursue the quarterback will be different as well.
Garrett will usually chase after the quarterback regardless of what the defense is doing behind him, while Watt will only chase after the quarterback on a designed blitz. It’s truly impossible to say for sure who’s better due to the significant differences, as Garrett is arguably the best defensive end in football and Watt is arguably the best outside linebacker in all of football.
So each player is great. Yet, if we’re talking about purely who’s better at getting after the quarterback, there isn’t a debate.
When it comes to Myles Garrett vs. T.J. Watt, there’s no debate
Both men came into the league in the same year, and Watt currently holds the career advantage over Garrett, 61 sacks to 54.5 sacks. That doesn’t include the fact that Watt has played nine more games than Garrett, nor does it factor in Garrett contracting COVID in 2020, not just causing Garrett to miss time but also causing prolonged negative effects that plagued Garrett for the second half of the season.
So you can argue that it’s a wash, with Watt averaging .88 sacks per game for his career, and Garrett averaging .90 sacks per game for his career. They’re both very good. Yet, if we’re talking about who’s the best at getting to the quarterback in just 2021, then there’s no debate.
PFF is pretty reliable when it comes to stats, it’s kind of their whole thing. So when they say that Garrett is winning pass-rushing matchups more than anyone else in the NFL, that’s a very impressive stat.
It, however, doesn’t factor in all the times the opposing team cheats to beat him. Team’s holding Garrett has become a meme to Browns’ fans, with how frequent it happens, on top of how unique each new hold happens to be. Whether it’s Garrett getting horse-collared, pulled down by his jersey, or two opposing players out-right wrapping their arms around him and holding him, Garrett seems to always be getting cheated out of even more sacks.
So yes, Watt is very good at getting to the quarterback. Just not as good as Garrett.