The New England Patriots don’t have a J.J. Watt of their own to practice against, but they do have racquetball racquets, and that’ll have to be close enough.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a bag full of racquetball rackets he brings out from time to time when he needs to simulate the effect a pass-swatting defensive line might have on his offense. And the NFL has never seen a sultan of swat quite like J.J. Watt, who last week became the first player in league history with at least 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in the same season.
So out come the crude prosthetics in Foxboro, Mass.
“Maybe brooms,” Belichick said. “Get it a little longer.”
Belichick has been doing this for years, often to the chagrin of quarterback Tom Brady.
“I’m sure there will be a whole bunch of those there this week, which doesn’t always make me very happy, but that’s probably a good way to prepare for it,” Brady told NESN Wednesday.
Watt, in his second year out of Wisconsin, on Wednesday was given credit for an extra sack for a play in Houston’s win last week over the Tennesee Titans. That pushed his total to 16.5 this season, making him No. 2 in the NFL behind San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, who has 17.5.
“He does it all,” Belichick said. “He makes plays from behind, makes plays at the point of attack. He’s a good pass rusher; he has a variety of moves. They use him on different stunts and games. He’s quick and fast enough to rush out of his lane and still get to the quarterback. He’s got good instincts to tip balls, get his hands up in the throwing lane, that type of thing.”