Can Watt top last season?
It's hard to follow up a master piece. Just ask Orson Welles.
And now, J.J. Watt is trying to top what many already called perfection.
Watt finished 2012 with what defensive coordinator Wade Phillips called "the best season ever." Watt finished last season with 20.5 sacks, 107 tackles, 39 tackles for loss and 16 passes defensed. It's a season every defensive player dreams about and it's only made Watt work harder.
“I’m working on everything," Watt said. "I do a lot well but I can do everything better. There’s little things. There’s a lot of little technique things. I’m going to be seeing a lot of double and triple teams, just like I did last year, so just finding new ways to improve. I mean, there’s always ways to improve no matter how good you are, you can always get better.”
Watt has become bigger than life in a state where everything is, well, bigger. He's easily the most recognizable face in the city of Houston. Wherever you look, he's there. Throwing out the first pitch at the Astros' season opener, visiting our troops overseas in the USO Tour, or helping any child that has been given luck that no one deserves, Watt is there. He threw the largest charity event put on by an athlete I've ever seen when his celebrity softball game in Sugarland filled the Skeeters stadium to the brim.
“He’s amazing," Gary Kubiak said Thursday. "I always worry about guys. I always tell them, ‘If you’ve got too much on your plate, let me know. I’ll help you because we’ve got to have you playing good football.’ He’s one of those guys that does so many things. I’ve never heard him complain one time. A special person, a special player, so we better enjoy it every day because they don’t come along like that very often.”
“It’s cool, man," Watt said with a smile. "It’s pretty cool. I enjoy it. I mean, this is the type of stuff you dream about as a kid. You dream about all these things that I get to do now."
For a 24-year old, Watt amazingly has the ability to be completely aware of his situation. He can take a look at what is going on from the outside and put it into perspective.
"But for me, at the end of the day, it all comes back to on this field and that weight room and working hard because as quickly," he said. "I guess it’s come over so many years, but it can go away so quickly. You work so hard. You work your entire life to build up something like this and it could be taken away so quickly if you don’t play well. I’m trying to make it last as long as possible so every single day I’m putting in the work.”
Watt's not just the best player in football; he also a great teammate. Nose tackle Early Mitchell called Watt the best teammate he's ever had.
“That’s a great compliment," Watt said. "I appreciate it and I think that’s my goal. Every day that I come to work, I’m trying to be the best I can and hopefully I’m pushing everybody around me. I think on this team, nobody likes to be complacent, nobody wants to be comfortable with second place running sprints, whether we’re doing a lift in the weight room or if we’re out here at practice. We’re all trying to be the best. If I’m out front, I’m trying to (pull) everyone along with me and if somebody else is out front, I’m trying to catch them. That’s just kind of the way we work.”