BOSTON (CBS) – As the New England Patriots get ready to host the 11-1 Houston Texans on Monday night, defensive end J.J. Watt has taken a front and center spot in this game’s focus.
The second-year player has 16.5 sacks on the season. He’s batted down 15 passes — more than most safeties and corners get in a season. To state the obvious, he’s a disruptive force.
Bill Belichick admits the young man has all the tools on the football field.
“He does everything well,” coach Belichick said of Watt. “He’s long, he’s quick, he’s instinctive, he has a high motor, plays hard, good balance, hard to knock off his feet. He does it all. He makes plays from behind, makes plays at the point of attack. He’s a good pass rusher; he has a variety of moves. They use him on different stunts and games. He’s quick and fast enough to rush out of his lane and still get to the quarterback. He’s got good instincts to tip balls, get his hands up in the throwing lane, that type of thing. He’s long. He’s a hard guy to get a solid hit on because of his length and his quickness. He’s a good player.”
Read: Patriots-Texans Preview
Even quarterback Tom Brady realizes what the Patriots are going up against. The Texans defense gets after the quarterback, and Brady says it all starts with number-99.
“Yeah, he’s an incredible player,” Brady said of Watt. “The way that he gets after the quarterback, stops the run. I think he does both of those things well, as well as defending in the pass game with those balls batted down. He’s impressive as a player, as you can see on film with his agility, his quickness, his length, his instinctiveness in getting his hands up in the air and getting ready to jump and bat balls down. He’s a great player for that defense; they really rely on him.”
As for Watt, he says he’s ready for his Tom Brady experience.
“Tom Brady is one of the best in the game. He’s a great player, we’ve seen a lot of great players,” Watt said on ESPN Radio earlier this week. “I’m excited about the opportunity… Anytime you get a chance to go against one of the greatest you have to love and cherish it. Monday night, for everybody to see our team and see what we’re all about, I’m really excited about that.”
The Patriots offensive line, which has been solid this season despite giving up four sacks to the Dolphins last week, will certainly have their hands full on Monday night. But they could be getting a boost, with guard Logan Mankins expected to return to action after missing the last three games with calf and ankle injuries.
Getting Mankins back would be huge, as the Patriots will need all hands on deck to contain Watt.
Tune in to Patriots-Texans Monday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub! Pregame coverage begins at 5pm with Patriots Preview, and tune in to three hours of post game coverage following the game. WBZ-TV will have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s post-game press conferences live on Patriots 5th Quarter on myTV38 following the game.