IRVING, Texas -- Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday after recording his first career interception return for a touchdown, a career-high nine quarterback hits, a pass defensed and five tackles in a victory over the Buffalo Bills.
This Sunday afternoon, Watt and the Texans visit the Dallas Cowboys in a battle between 3-1 teams.
Watt's ability to line up at both defensive end spots and inside as a tackle makes him a matchup nightmare for any team. However, Cowboys center Travis Frederick, a teammate of Watt's at Wisconsin from 2009 to 2011, said don't forget the other players on Houston's defense.
"He's a tremendous player, like I said, but they also have a lot of good players in their linebacking corps. Jared Crick on the other end is a good player as well," Frederick said. "He's another Big Ten guy. The guys in the middle are big run stoppers and it's not just one guy. We're not playing the Houston J.J. Watts. We're playing the Houston Texans and it's going to be a good challenge."
Watt has more quarterback hits (16) than 13 other NFL teams. The closest player to Watt in terms of quarterback hits is Seattle's Michael Bennett, who has eight. The Cowboys see him in Week 6.
But Watt's ability to rush the passer from different parts of the line of scrimmage is a challenge. As the right defensive end, Watt will meet the left tackle, and in the Cowboys' case that's Tyron Smith, who is coming off his first Pro Bowl season.
"It's always fun going up against a good player, and everybody is in this game for the competition and that's basically all it is," said Smith, who worked out with Watt prior to the 2011 NFL draft. "He's one of the top players at his position, and I give him credit for what he's done so far."
Can the Cowboys control Watt?
Can the Cowboys contain Watt?
"I think it’s the same thing," Frederick said. "He's one part of a bigger defense, and our job is to control and move against the Texans defense."