What looked like a tough matchup for the New England Patriots now looks like something that could potentially help them out, as it was reported that Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt missed Thursday's practice with a broken hand.
Watt, who leads the NFL with 13.5 sacks, still intends to play in Sunday's game. After all, football is a tough sport, and Watt is out to further establish how much tougher he can be.
Even with one hand, Watt will still be a tough task for the Patriots' battered offensive line. Especially factoring in that Tom Brady has been hit 36 times over the past three games, containing him will be as crucial as ever. After all, Bill Belichick compared him to Lawrence Taylor earlier this week for a reason. It's been reported that Watt broke his hand in practice. I like to think, however, that it was actually because of too much or too heavy Papa John's pizza slices.J.J. Watt: 'I broke my hand in practice yesterday and will play in the game Sunday. Football is a game where things happen.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) December 10, 2015
McDaniels on Watt
Belichick wasn't the only coach on the Pats' staff to discuss Watt, as Josh McDaniels sung his praises as well.
Speaking to NESN, Josh McDaniels offered insight as to how Watt can be stopped.
“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.
“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."
It's easy to conclude that Watt is the best defensive player in the game this year. He swept the Defensive Player of the Year award for a reason last year, and very well may take the honors again this season. Just because he's playing with one hand doesn't make him any less of a threat.
Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61