Texans, J.J. Watt expecting even more

HOUSTON -- Scrolling back through a season filled with highlights, it’s not hard to pick out his best.

J.J. Watt’s close-range interception of Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and 29-yard touchdown return was a huge moment for the Texans as they won their first playoff game.

It was a nice capper for a guy who would have been a bigger contender for defensive rookie of the year but for the great year of Denver linebacker Von Miller, who had 11.5 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss and 24 QB hits. (Another linebacker, San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, was the only other vote-getter.)

Watt had 5.5 sacks and was a staple from the start in a much improved Houston defense that finished No. 2 in the NFL.

So how does he get better in his second season?

“I’ve got lots to focus on,” he said after Tuesday’s OTA across the street from Reliant Stadium. “Now I have the playbook down, so I am just focusing on the little things: My pass rush, some quickness in my get off and just increasing my power moves.”

Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense isn’t lacking tone-setters, but Watt looks to be a stalwart in that department. When he wasn’t in the backfield his rookie year, he drew the sort of attention that helped other guys draw favorable matchups they could win to be disruptive.

The Texans swarmed opposing quarterbacks last season, registering 44 sacks, and expect to continue to mount sacks and pressures in Year 2 of the system.

Coach Gary Kubiak thinks familiarity with the league will also help Watt in his second go-round.

“I think it’s all technique, studying the league, studying the people he plays again,” Kubiak said. “You know Wade and them will put him more and more in position to make plays and can do more and more things with him.

“We know he’s a hell of a player. I think experience gives him a chance to be even better.”