Doug Free will have to play with some 'snap'

IRVING, Texas – While the Houston Texans like to move defensive end J.J. Watt all around their front, he lines up mostly on the left side.

For this week’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, right tackle Doug Free will be largely responsible for Watt, although the Cowboys are likely to slide help to Free’s direction when they can.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” Free said. “Anytime you get to play against a player that has a lot of prestige and stuff like that it’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be a fight. Just go one play at a time and just rock and roll.”

Watt has 15 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery. The only defensive category he has not filled yet is forced fumble.

Free has had his moments where playing with strength has not been his best attribute, but coach Jason Garrett believes that has improved.

“I think that’s a technical thing. I think that’s a demeanor thing,” Garrett said. “The more he’s played, the better he’s gotten. That’s something that we really emphasize. Guys get to a certain point in their career and there’s a feeling from the outside that, ‘Nah, they can’t get any better; he is what he is.’ That’s not the way we approach it around here, and Doug’s a great example of that. He really gets better and better the more he plays, getting stronger, playing with more snap, playing with more aggressiveness. His hands are better. I think we’ve seen a lot of that in this first part of the season.”

What does playing with "more snap" mean?

“Just play with some snap, you know what I’m saying?” Garrett said. “Don’t play oozie. Play with some snap to you.”

Free will definitely have to have some snap against Watt.