The Houston Texans (11-1) are going head-to-head against the New England Patriots tonight in Foxboro, and J.J. Watt may just be the go-to man tonight as the Texans struggle with a depleted secondary: Brice McCain (CB), out; Johnathan Joseph (CB), maybe; Brooks Reed (LB), out; Bradie James (LB), maybe. It also hurts Houston at the bookies the fact they have allowed 325.0 passing yards the last three weeks in games against Jacksonville, Detroit, and Tennessee. Just what will it take Houston to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots?
One weapon in the Texans’ arsenal is none other than Defensive End J.J. Watt. Without a doubt, this second-year DE has given the rest of the league a run for their money, leading nationwide at his position with a combined 60 tackles and assists, including 17 sacks, this season alone. Alright so, Watt is pretty great, but where did this pass-rush menace come from and what does the future hold?
Justin James “J.J.” Watt was born in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, where he played football (tight end and defensive end) and lettered in baseball, basketball, and track. His senior year, he was WIAA Division 2 championship—all in a year’s work, right. What’s funny about Watt, though, is that he originally wanted to play in NHL; however, when the costs of hockey equipment and travel for his teams summed up to $30,000 a year, the Watts realized it was time to pull the plug on that. Well, we are sure the Texans thank God for that one.
From Pewaukee he enrolled at Central Michigan and played football for a year before leaving school, enrolling in a community college, and delivering pizzas for a while. Regaining some focus and direction after meeting with a fan, Watt enrolled at the University of Wisconsin with no guarantee that he would play or have a scholarship in the football program. Watt was redshirted in 2008, but rocked the 2009 season with 44 tackles and 4 sacks. J.J. would bring an even more powerful game in 2010 season with 62 tackles, 7 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and an interception.
The 6’5”. 290 lbs. defensive end from Wisconsin was drafted 11th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Watt, who began his NFL career with five solo tackles and a recovered fumble, would seal the season with 56 tackles (48 solo) 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 passes defended, and a blocked field goal. Up-to-date, Watt, in his second year in the league, has 110 tackles and 20 sacks in his career stats and has had an incredible season, earning the nickname J.J. “Swatt” for his ability to knock passes down in the line of scrimmage.
It’s Monday morning in the American east coast, and the hours continue to pass as the day leads up to a night of Texans vs. Patriots up in New England. If we see the kind of J.J. Watt action and pass-rush we have grown used to this season, Brady is in for a long-night, but Brady can’t complain. After all, it was Patriots’ QB Brady who stated on ESPN with Mike Tirico: “He’s an incredible player; he does pretty much everything for them.”