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Know the enemy: Texans DE J.J. Watt

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers face the monumental task of stopping Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt on Monday night at Heinz Field.

OK, let’s try that again.

The Pittsburgh Steelers face the monumental task of limiting the impact that Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt makes on Monday night at Heinz Field.

Watt has been arguably the best player in the NFL through the first six weeks of the season, and the fourth-year veteran has slapped a sleeper hold on the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

The 6-foot-5, 289-pounder has four sacks, 20 quarterback hurries, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an interception. Watt also has a blocked extra point for good measure.

Most mind-boggling when it comes to the most destructive defensive player in the game: Watt has three touchdowns -- or as many as the Steelers have managed in their past three games.

Here is what the Steelers are saying about Watt.

Coach Mike Tomlin: “Generally you are going to try to figure out a way to get two bodies on him. They have a great defensive coaching staff that I know very well. They do a very good job of scheming to get him into those one-on-ones even when you are trying to allow it not to happen. It will be a full-time job. He is going to make plays. What we have to prevent is the game changing plays that you see on tape.”

Right tackle: Marcus Gilbert: “He’s relentless, so we have to match his intensity. They move him around, so the guy’s going to be all over the field. You embrace these challenges because the spotlight’s on you. You get to show what you can do.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley: “He is a unique and special player at his position, which is multiple positions. You don’t generally see 300-pound guys running down the sidelines scoring touchdowns from 60 and 80 yards. He is a freakish athlete whose motor never stops. You aren’t going to keep him off the stat sheet entirely. I think that would be a reach but what we have to make happen is limit the game changing plays that he has shown on tape.”

Center Maurkice Pouncey: “He knows how to quick-arm over really, really well, he gets skinny on double teams, he jumps up and swats the ball. You don’t see that a lot. I think the thing that makes him the player that he is, is he goes hard every single play. As an NFL offensive lineman that blocks defensive players, you’ve got to appreciate that.”

Running back Le’Veon Bell: “It’s crazy because in college I’m like, ‘This is one of the best players I’ve ever played [against] in my life.’ And it’s crazy he got better in the NFL. I guess some people’s game just translates better in the NFL and he’s definitely one of those players that’s done that. He’s got a motor, he’s got all the swim moves and bull rush.”