HOUSTON – Don’t tell J.J. Watt how big Saturday will be for the Texans organization. This isn’t his first rodeo.
“It’s important," Watt said Wednesday after the Texans practiced, leading up to their ninth playoff game in franchise history. “It’s a huge week.”
“This is the NFL and the playoffs where 20 teams are at home only 12 are left," Watt added. “It’s very, very big.”
As the clock ticks down to the Texans playoff opener with the Buffalo Bills on Saturday all eyes are on Watt. Wednesday was another big step in the right direction as he gets set for his return after missing eight games with a torn pectoral injury he suffered against the Oakland Raiders.
“I think today was a good day,” Watt told reporters at NRG Stadium. “It was the first day in pads on the field. I went through a lot of tests mentally and you need to do that to make sure you can do the things you want to do. I felt really good out there.”
Now, the question will be on Watt’s snap count in the Wild Card game. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel weighed in on that subject Wednesday.
“I think that we’ll have to kind of measure to see where he is and how he’s doing because he hasn’t played in eight games,” said Crennel. “Even though he’s been working with the strength and conditioning people, the football condition, when you’re playing a big game, your adrenaline gets picked up and you get winded a little bit faster. We’ll have to measure that to see how that goes, and then I think that will impact how much he plays, but I don’t think that we want to expose him too much if he’s not able to go at a good level.”
Crennel was asked realistically what would he like to get out of Watt on Saturday.
“Well, he’s a pretty good pass rusher, so I would like to get some pass-rushing reps out of him," Crennel said. "So, you’re looking at third down, two-minute and then we’ll see after that.”
As for Watt, he’s just happy he’s back with his teammates on a team he feels can make a run.
“We talked about the risks involved and at the end of the day if I can I will,” said Watt. “When you have No. 4 at quarterback you always have a chance in this league and I think it’s a big thing I’m fortunate to have here.”