Former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor is often called one of the best defensive players in NFL history. The Hall of Famer is 12th on the all-time sacks list with 132.5, recording double-digit sacks in seven consecutive seasons.
Bill Belichick is familiar with Taylor’s greatness, having coached him for 10 years with the Giants. That said, Belichick compared the NFL’s best defensive player right now, J.J. Watt, to Taylor ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans.
“Watt’s a major force. There are very few players I would put in same conversation with Lawrence Taylor. I would put J.J. in there,” Belichick said in his press conference. “He’s a dynamic player. He can ruin a game. He’s a special player. He was the defensive MVP last year. He’s already earned that award this year, even if he didn’t play the last four games. This might be a good game for him to rest.”
Unfortunately for Belichick and the struggling offensive line of the Patriots, Watt won’t be sitting this one out. He’s recorded 9.5 sacks in his past six games, which would be tied for fourth in the NFL this season.
Of course, he leads the league with 13.5 sacks in 2015 and is on track to be named Defensive Player of the Year once again. Even when he’s not recording sacks, he changes the game plan for opposing offenses.
“Similar to what we saw with teams dealing with Taylor in New York. He’s got that kind of disruptiveness,” Belichick said. “The position he plays, he’s as disruptive a defensive lineman as I’ve seen in the league. In the same general category as L.T.”
That’s significantly high praise, even for the widely-recognized Watt. Coming from the short-spoken Belichick makes it that much more impressive.