The New England Patriots will face one of their toughest tasks of the season when they face the Houston Texans on Sunday: stopping J.J. Watt.
The Texans defensive end leads the NFL in sacks with 13.5 and probably is the best individual defensive player in the league right now, so New England’s battered offensive line will have its work cut out. And offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said everyone on the line will need to contribute.
“There’s really no area of the game where this guy isn’t a significant factor and contributor for their defense,” McDaniels said Tuesday in a conference call. “And then to top it all off, he’s not always in the same spot, so we’re going to have to have a lot of guys prepared and ready to handle or to be ready to block him if he happens to be aligned over them or near them. And that responsibility probably won’t just fall on one person, so we’re going to have to do a good job preparing for him.”
It’s Watt’s fifth year in the league, but he’s already a three-time Pro Bowl pick, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and last season became the first player with multiple seasons of 20-plus sacks. So needless to say, McDaniels doesn’t want to give Watt the chance to run his offense.
“He’s as disruptive of a player as we’ve faced all season, and we’re going to have to try to limit the number of opportunities that he has to create those types of plays because when he does, they usually change the outcome of the drive, the play or potentially the game,” McDaniels said.
Quarterback Tom Brady was sacked four times in the Patriots’ 35-28 loss to the Eagles on Sunday, so New England must be on its A-game for Watt.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt motions to the crowd during the game against the New York Jets at NRG Stadium.