'Game-Wrecker': Ravens Wary Of Watt
The Baltimore Ravens know J.J Watt all too well. A "game-wrecker,'' they call him.
"Year after year, I’ve seen him wreck games, and he has a very unique style," Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said in the buildup to today's 3:20 p.m. home-opening meeting for the Houston Texans against Baltimore. "I told the players, ‘He’s like Lamar [Jackson] when Lamar runs the ball; it’s really hard to get a good hit on him.’''
Jackson is of course Baltimore's elusive QB who will oppose Houston QB Deshaun Watson, who this week drew comparisons from the Ravens to none other than LeBron James.
So Jackson is like Watson. And Watson is like LeBron. And Watt is like Jackson.
As our SI Ravens correspondent Todd Karpovich in Baltimore notes:
*Watt is the NFL's all-time leader with 267 career quarterback hits. He led the league for four straight seasons in 2012-15 and only one other NFL player has ever tallied over 40 quarterback hits in a season since they became an official NFL stat.
*Despite playing in only eight games in 2019, Watt posted 21 quarterback hits, which led the Texans and ranked tied for 20th in the NFL.
*He registered three games with five-or-more quarterback hits (Week 3, 5, and 7) and remains the only player in NFL history to record at least three games with five-or-more quarterback hits in a single season, which he's done four times (2013-15 and 2019).
*Watt owns 16 career games with five-or-more quarterback hits, which is the most in NFL history by 11 games.
The Ravens, who come into the game at 1-0 against Houston's 0-1 mark, are acutely aware of all of this.
"J.J. plays in the interior D-line, and it’s really hard to get a good block on him,'' Roman said. "He’s very unique in his style, and he’s one of the all-time greats.''
Watt spent part of the week not practicing fully, and at age 31, Houston is obviously monitoring his pre-game work with "load management'' in mind.
But come game time? Watt will be on the Ravens' minds.
"He’s very talented, No. 1," Roman said. "But specific to his style, he just knows how to defeat blocks and he does it in a very unique way.''
"Unique'' as a defensive lineman who can be compared to a QB. Who can be compared to LeBron. Who can be compared to a QB. Got it?