Texarkana, TX 77° Mon H 94° L 70° Tue H 85° L 60° Wed H 83° L 61° Weather Sponsored By:

Watt looks to build on return

Watt looks to build on return

September 14th, 2018 by Associated Press in Sports Pro

In this Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Houston Texans' J.J. Watt rushes during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Watt got better as the day went on his first game since breaking his leg last October. After getting through that game, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is looking to make more of an impact this week when the Texans visit Tennessee. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini, File)

HOUSTON—J.J. Watt got better as the season opener went on, his first game since breaking his leg last October.

"Whatever it was, knocking rust off in the first half or just getting back up to speed in a full game, but definitely started to feel more like myself in the second half," Watt said of the loss in New England.

After getting through that game, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is looking to make more of an impact this week when the Texans visit Tennessee.

Although the defensive end was confident he'd be OK last Sunday in his first game since Oct. 8, he admitted it was a relief to go for 70 plays on turf and come out feeling good.

"Felt fine the whole game," he said. "Never thought about it once. I'm very pleased with how it turned out and with the second half, I started to really begin to find my groove as a player again."

It was an encouraging start for a player who not only sat out the last 11 games of 2017 but also missed all but three games in 2016 because of a back problem which required two surgeries. The Texans hope Watt can shake off his last two injured-plagued years and reach the level of Defensive Player of the Year, which he won in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Watt's injuries came after he never missed a game in his first five NFL seasons and twice led the league in sacks.

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel loved having Watt back and said his presence makes the entire defense better.

"It's always exciting to see him in the backfield," Crennel said. "It's very helpful because he's a playmaker. When he makes plays it helps the other guys also, because he lifts everybody up."

Watt insists that, except for a couple of tough months immediately following surgery, he never lost belief he could return to form. Now it's just a matter of showing everyone that he was right.

"I've never questioned what I can accomplish, but it always comes down to going out there and doing it and proving it," he said. "I just have to continue to work and grow. It may not come in the first game, but as long as I continue to do what I need to do and practice the way I need to practice, everything will take care of itself."

Watt had two tackles and two hits on Tom Brady in Houston's 27-20 loss to the Patriots. He also came close to getting his first sack since Sept. 18, 2016 before nose tackle D.J. Reader ended up taking down Brady instead for one of his two sacks.

"We've had a few discussions about it," Watt said. "I'm not going to say my (hand) was on his ankle at the same time or before or anything, but we'll see."

Now that he has the first game out of the way, Crennel is looking for Watt to continue his progress and start making the kind of impact he did before his injuries. Houston could use a big game from Watt and the defense to avoid an 0-2 start.

"I expect him to continue to knock the rust off and get better every week," Crennel said. "That's what I'm expecting. So hopefully that will occur and if it does that will help us."

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com