Through three games, no AFC South rookie has been better than Houston first-rounder J.J. Watt.
He’s shown himself to be a perfect fit in Wade Phillips’ 3-4. He brings a tremendous work ethic. And he’s been consistently disruptive and productive.
“In the run game I’ve had a few tackles in the first couple games and I had my first sack last week,” Watt said. “I’m just trying to come in and execute in the situation coach puts me into. I’m not trying to do anything outside my job …
“The situations they put me in and the things they ask me to do I think it fits my type of play well and I think it fits our defense. Every week I feel more and more comfortable in my position, in my duties. I’m just excited to keep excelling as the weeks go on.”
He’s third on the team with 13 tackles and has a sack, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal. I’m hearing good things from the personnel types I know.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. also give Watt a good review.
“Watt has been great,” he said. “He’s an ideal fit for 3-4 at defensive end, and more specifically, Houston’s up-field penetrating version. He’s long and hard to throw around and he plays with much better leverage than most players of his dimensions."
This week Watt’s watching film of the Steelers' offensive line that struggled badly against the Colts' defensive line last week.
“I understand Pittsburgh's had a couple injuries on that line, they’re filling a couple different guys in there, we’ll have to see what they come out with,” he said. “Obviously when you see a situation like that, when defensive linemen have success last week, you want to try to take advantage of that. That’s what good teams do.”
As new blood, Watt has no connection to the Texans’ collapses of the past. To him, the failure late in the loss in New Orleans is not part of the team’s DNA. It amounted to an isolated incident that the team will learn from but has put behind it.
He said Houston will bounce back from it well and is eager to show it is better than that.
Phillips’ front seven needs to be the tone-setter for the defense, and so far Watt has certainly been a key ingredient in that.
As a Wisconsin guy, Watt always appreciated Reggie White. But another role model for him was Howie Long. Watt said he looks forward to meeting Long, a Fox analyst, somewhere down the road.
I expect Long will like Watt’s style.