Staying true to the classic basketball film Space Jam, Bill Belichick took the advice originally bestowed upon Michael Jordan to heart and made his team practice using racquetball rackets to simulate J.J. Watt and the Houston defensive line.
Although he's no Serge Ibaka, Watt, who stands at 6 ft 6 in. has knocked down 15 passes from defensive end this season to go along with 16.5 sacks.
"That's probably a good way to prepare for it – it's like throwing over this wall," Brady said of the rackets. "It's hard…you've got to try to find an area."
Watt has been virtually unstoppable this year and is a likely candidate for defensive player of the year.
"He's the most disruptive player in the league, certainly that we've seen," Belichick said of Watt. "That looks like the Defensive Player of the Year to me."
With a 4.8 second 40-yard dash and 37 inch vertical leap, Watt is a phenomenal athlete for a man his size, 6 ft. 6 in. 295 pounds. He has the strength and speed to consistently shed blockers and get to the quarterback or blow up running plays. He has excellent instincts and a nonstop motor. The Patriots banged up offensive line could have a hard time dealing with him Monday night. Tom Brady was sacked four times against the Dolphins last week and it is unclear whether New England will get G Dan Connolly or G Logan Mankins back for the game Monday night. However, Mankins and Connolly did return to the practice field Thursday and were limited along with fellow offensive lineman Sebestian Vollmer.
The health of the offensive line will be important to follow all week, as Mankins, Connolly, and Vollmer's availability may make the difference in the huge Monday night matchup with the 11-1 Texans.
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