With left tackle Taylor Lewan, right tackle Jack Conklin, and backup right tackle Dennis Kelly all missing today’s matchup against the Titans due to injury, that all but sets up defensive end J.J. Watt—you may have heard of him—to have a big game.
Watt has missed significant time in the prior two seasons, but is completely healthy and entering a great situation (for him) with the Titans missing three of their tackles. That’s going to create a lot of pressure for whoever is starting today.
Against the Patriots last week, Watt spent the second half terrorizing Tom Brady with pressure. Part of what’s made him such a special defender is how quick and violent his hands are around the edge. He uses his hands to counter backup right tackle (yeah, I couldn’t sugarcoat this one) LaAdrian Waddle’s and manages to get his hands on Brady, disrupting his pass.
This time, Watt goes up against the starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, but the result remains the same. Watt uses his violent inside hands to create leverage over Cannon, allowing him to burst through inside and force Brady to panic for an inaccurate throw.
Having slowed this one down, Watt (against Waddle again) was a little ahead of the snap, though an offsides penalty was never called. Still, Watt’s pressure around the edge allows third-year nose tackle D.J. Reader to get a sack on Brady.
Honestly, you could say any outside pass rusher on the Texans would have a big day against the Titans’ weakened tackle positions, but I think it’s a healthy Watt who could benefit most. He should terrorize Tennessee all game long.