J.J. Watt had another sack against the New York Jets on Monday night, and it is clear this guy is an absolute beast. He's run his season total to 8.5—which is tops in the league—and the Houston Texans' opponents are going to have to commit to protection schemes that neutralize his impact.
Watt isn't just sacking the quarterback. He leads the Texans in passes defended with eight, and he's also the team leader in tackles for loss with four. Those categories are drive killers for the opposition, and game-changers for the Texans.
Take a look at Watt batting down this Mark Sanchez pass last night:
Football is a team game but you can't allow one force to dominate this way, especially on the line of scrimmage.
When Watt is on the field he should be doubled, or chipped on every pass play. Since he lines up on the edge and inside, this requires a read at the line of scrimmage by the quarterback or center. An adjustment has to be made to give an offensive lineman help from a tight end or a running back in pass protection.
Watt's ability to be effective inside and outside is what makes matching up with him so difficult. At this point, he's the type of player that you have to know where he is on every down.
Obviously, committing to double him limits the passing options of the quarterback, but it is a far better alternative than eating the dirt.
Brooks Reed is a decent pass-rusher, but the numbers don't lie.
No other Texans player has come close to Watt's production. Reed leads the rest of the Texans defenders with 2.5 sacks this season. Watt is a solid run defender, but he clearly doesn't wreak the same level of havoc against the ground game.
Teams haven't blown through the Texans' run defense, but the potential for Watt to make an impact isn't as high. Chris Johnson had his best game of the season against the Texans in Week 4. He rushed for 141 yards, but the Titans couldn't contain the Texans' offense.
Houston has a very good team. The Texans are going to win their fair share of games this season, and they will likely run away with the AFC South, but teams have to start treating Watt like the elite player he's proven himself to be.
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