The fact that J.J. Watt has an AFC leading 16.5 sacks, a Texans franchise record, is a feat for a player less than two years into his NFL career.
What makes that number even more impressive is when you look at how else Watt affects the game.
His team leading 87 tackles indicates he is not strictly a pass rush artist.
How about his 15 pass deflections?
The top five sack leaders in the NFL besides Watt have a total of two pass deflections on the season.
“A lot of people see the sacks, the batted balls, all that. But I take pride in being an all-around player, a guy who can play both the run and the pass and play the run in different ways and the pass in different ways,” Watt said.
Watt has been a terror for opposing offenses to account for out of his defensive end spot in the Texans 3-4 scheme.
It’s Andrew Luck’s turn this week to go under center and look across a defensive front that includes one of the game’s most dominating players.
Earlier this week, Watt offered his thoughts on the Colts rookie quarterback.
“He’s a guy that doesn’t play like a rookie by any means. He’s very smart. He has a good arm. But he’s also elusive,” Luck said. “He can scramble, he can run, and he doesn’t get flustered. I think that’s one of the best things about him is he doesn’t get flustered. He plays very well late in the games and he just plays like a vet. You can tell he’s a competitor.”
The word ‘competitor’ can be used to describe Watt as well.
After spending one year as a tight end at Central Michigan University, Watt became a pizza delivery boy and decided to transfer to the University of Wisconsin.
He returned to his home state and began to work on his next goal of earning a Big Ten scholarship.
Today, Watt has achieved much more than that and he’s in awe just thinking back to his path to the NFL.
“It’s crazy. It is truly crazy,” Watt said. “I don’t get much time, to sit down and think about it but the times I do, it’s pretty crazy to think about how much has happened in such a short period of time.”
At Wisconsin, Watt learned his ability to swat balls from coach Charlie Partridge and has continued to work on it daily with the Texans.
Watt knows he isn’t your prototypical edge, speed rusher in the league and embraces the phrase of an ‘old school’ football player.
“I think that’s a compliment so I’ll take it as a compliment. I like to be a hybrid of old school and new school if that’s possible,” Watt said. “I love the mentality of old-school players just kind of tough-nosed, hard-nosed guys, with also combining some of the techniques and ways of the new school. So I’m honored and that’s definitely a compliment.”
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The Lone Star state will welcome home a few of its own this weekend.
A total of eight players on the Colts active roster will head back to their home state this weekend including a trio that calls Houston their hometown.
Here is a list of the players that will be making the return to Texas as the Colts take on the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon.
- Donnie Avery WR: The Houston native attended the University of Houston (2003-2008) and went to Hastings High School, which is about 20 minutes southeast of Reliant stadium.
- Andrew Luck, QB: Luck, also a Houston native, went to high school about five miles north of Avery at Stratford High School.
- Teddy Williams, CB: Williams hails from Tyler, which is about three and a half miles north of Houston. Williams attended the University of Texas-San Antonio and by joining the Colts on Oct. 29, is happy that the Texans game fell on the schedule in Week 15.
“I’ve actually got eight tickets for my family coming down from Tyler. My fiancé and son, they are already in Houston so some of her family too.”
- Jerrell Freeman, LB: Freeman attended Mary-Hardin Baylor in his hometown of Waco.
- Kellen Heard, DT: Heard is a native of Wharton, which is about an hour outside of Houston.
- Tony Hills, OT: Hills is one of two members of the Colts who attended the University of Texas (2003-2008). Hills hails from Dallas.
- Cory Redding, DE: Redding was the 1999 USA Today Defensive Player of the Year at North Shore High School in Houston. Redding continued his career at Texas from 2000-2003.
“This is a good game for all my friends and family back home to see me that haven’t got a chance to see me play all year or the past few years. It’s always good to go back home where everybody can see me. I like that. It’s good to see them and it’s good for them to watch me play.”
- Jerry Hughes, OLB: Hughes grew up in Sugar Land Texas which is about 20 minutes southwest of Houston but made the four and a half hour trip north to attend Texas Christian University.
“I think right now I’m at about 30 tickets and counting so it’s always good for my family to kind of come out and see me. They didn’t get a chance to see me in up at college so it’s always good for things like this.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, cory redding, donnie avery, Jerr Hughes, Jerrell Freeman, Kellen Herad, teddy williams, Tony Hills
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Sydney, Australia. It’s the night of the twelfth as I write my blog. Pretty special day. 12.12.12. But it’s not just the numbers that have made it special, though at 9-4, the Colts numbers are just fine by us fans. This year has been a phoenix rebirth. Out of last year’s ashes, Jim Irsay has put together a team that not only could easily clinch a wild card but has in their hands the possibility of winning the division. Yeah, we are playing the number two team in the league; but that’s what makes it all the more exciting. We get to beat them twice before the playoffs! This really does all mean we do have the fate of this year’s division in our hands. Something none of us would have thought possible at the start of the season. We all knew this would be our building year, after all, that’s what Jim promised; but none of us imagined that we would build these numbers, 9-4 in our first season. Jim Irsay, you can build my campfire any time! Hell, you can build my whole house.
So Jim, since it is Christmas, if the miracle of a Championship win occurs, I will have no choice but to get over there and make you Vegemite on toast for a celebration breakfast. Oh, don’t panic, Jim. I make a great pumpkin pie so it won’t be all bad!!!
Outstanding communication and undeniable faith in each other has gotten the team this far. You add to that mix an Australian quarterback like Andrew Luck…………. What? You mean he’s not an Aussie? I just thought with his unflappable, “She’ll be right, mate” attitude he must be Australian. He’s not, ay. Well I’ll be blowed. Well, no worries but the combination that Jim has inspiringly brought together is no less than a genius at work.
Oh, and by the way Andrew, I don’t have a heart condition but I soon will with the thrilling football you are playing. I don’t know what they’re telling you around the half time campfire when you guys are sitting around chewing the fat (having a chin wag or discussing events of the first half) but you come out with a new knowledge of the opposition that is awe-inspiring.
Talk of inspiring, it’s great to see Coach Pagano at the games. You too, Coach, make us so proud to be associated with the Colts. I continue to remember you in my prayers for a speedy, healthy recovery.
Rooting for the Colts a half a world away. Our resident Aussie blogger, Rob Zammit, is a veterinarian and dedicated Colts fan. Rob’s poodle is pink to raise awareness of breast cancer.
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That was the amount of time Bruce Arians had to transition from receiving a phone call form Chuck Pagano telling him he had leukemia until the Colts offensive coordinator addressed a room full of 60+ players to deliver the devastating news of their head coach.
In a time where the team’s psyche would be challenged, Arians and the rest of the Colts coaching staff has not wavered from the values that was created by their head coach.
“Bruce has done a great job in continuing to keep on preaching what Chuck (started) and not coming in here and saying, ‘this is my team, I’m changing up everything.’ No, nothing like that,” outside linebacker Dwight Freeney said. “He believed a lot of what Chuck believes in and he continues the same things and traditions that Chuck instilled here, of the mindset on how to go out and prepare and believe in the process. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Arians has the Colts (9-4) in a position to become the fourth team in NFL history to win 10 or more games following a season with two or fewer victories (and just the second since 1974).
When news broke of Pagano’s illness and talk switched over to the logistics of the football team, the interaction between Arians and his pupil, Andrew Luck, was a frequent topic.
Would Arians have time to balance his head coaching duties along with continuing to develop another young signal caller?
Luck wasn’t worried.
“He’s got great people skills and he’s a football guy,” Luck said of Arians. “He’s been around football forever. He’s been a head coach before so it didn’t surprise me too much.”
“I do really appreciate how much he’s focused on not letting the communication stop or lesson. I know I’ve spoken on this before but I think it’s a credit to him for doing everything extra he still did in those however many hours, on top of that.”
Last season, defensive end Cory Redding considered Arians a foe.
As a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Redding prepared for Arians’ Steelers offense twice coming out on top in both meetings.
Now, the two are together striving for the same goal of watching their friend and head coach come out of the tunnel on Dec. 30 when the Colts take on the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Redding joked that at first it was unusual hearing Arians cheer for the defense making plays in practice but credits the job the offensive coordinator has done in his new role .
“Just how (Arians) handles every situation and how he handles the team, his leadership, how he demands guys to do things and call them out when it’s not done. That’s what makes him a great coach,” Redding said. “He’s been good at it and stepped and done the job unbelievingly well. He’s getting the guys ready to play mentally and physically.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, chuck pagano, cory redding, Dwight Freeney
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