TEXANS DEFENSIVE END J.J. WATT
Q: How eager are you for the season opener given all you went through last year with your injury and what transpired in Houston with Hurricane Harvey?
JW: I'm just looking forward to playing football again. My favorite part about this whole year has been just getting back in the locker room with the guys, just getting back on the practice field, kind of getting back to normal. Obviously the last two years have been very rough for me. You want to play and everything that I've had to go through in the rehabs and the recoveries and all that it took and then, obviously, the hurricane as well but just looking to getting back out on the field, playing football, flying around with the guys, doing what I love.
Q: How have you felt getting back? How do you feel physically, where are you at?
JW: Good. I mean, I've said this offseason many times, I could tell people I'm feeling unbelievable, I could tell people I'm feeling terrible. They're not going to believe me and they're not going to care until I step on that field and prove it for real. Sunday's going to be a lot of fun, I'm really looking forward to hitting the field and just playing the game. Letting loose and having fun and like I said, we'll go from there.
Q: Bill Belichick said Romeo Crennel is one of the best he's seen in terms of coaching defensive line fundamentals and technique. How much has he meant to the development of yourself and so many guys along that line?
JW: Yeah, he's incredible. I'm very happy to have him back as a d-coordinator. You know, I've been very lucky throughout my whole career. I had Wade Phillips early on, obviously another legend of the game, and had Romeo Crennel here in Houston. Just a phenomenal guy, truly cares about his players, truly cares about the game and each individual guy and just wants to see everybody succeed and play their best. He's a lot of fun to be around, he's a guy that you want to play for, you want to go out there and lay it all on the line for him because of how much he cares and how much it means to him. Obviously the knowledge that he's had from all these years and the experiences that he's had, he's just an incredible asset. I'm very lucky and thankful to have him as my d-coordinator.
Q: What's been the hardest part for you getting back on the field? Has it been the physical aspect or the mental aspect of getting ready for the grind of a NFL season?
JW: I think - you know, now, at the point I'm at now, it's been fun getting back into a regular routine. Unfortunately, I've had too much experience in the last two years with coming back and I think early on in the rehab process, it's making sure you take it slow and do it the right way early on. I think that not pushing things too hard and not pushing it too far early was key. But now, it's just football. It's just going out there, getting into your routine, getting yourself ready physically and mentally, watching the film, doing the running, doing the extra work. Now it's just - it's back to - it feels normal and it feels like the game I love.
Q: What's the biggest challenge of facing a Patriots offense and Tom Brady?
JW: I mean, obviously you're facing the best quarterback of all time and possibly the best coach of all time. I mean, they're incredible and everything that they've accomplished in their career speaks for itself. They've obviously done some phenomenal things and they deserve all the praise and the accolades that they get because of what they've accomplished. So you're facing that. You're facing guys with a ton of experience, a ton of knowledge, a lot of skill, a lot of talent and who work very hard. It's always a good challenge and so for us to open up the season against a team like that and a player like Tom, it's a great challenge right out the gate.
Q: After playing with some many different quarterbacks, what's it like to have somebody as dynamic as Deshaun Watson was in his time playing last year?
JW: Yeah, you know it's been a while since I've been able to come into a training camp and know for a fact who the QB1 is. So it's nice to come in and know that there's going to be one guy back there under center commanding the offense, working toward starting on that Day One. It's not a competition, it's, "OK, how are we going to get best prepared for game one?" And a guy who's obviously been very successful at all the levels that he's been at and he has a lot of talent, he has a lot of ability. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do this year.
Q: Romeo Crennel has the history of working with Bill Belichick. Is there any insight he can add about playing against a Bill Belichick-coached team or do you just approach this game like any other week?
JW: Obviously you try to gather as much information as you can with all the resources that you have. But I think if anybody could figure out what they were doing up there, I think we sure would have tried to tap into that by now. I think that they're been extremely successful over a very long period of time where it proves that they know what they're doing, they make adjustments, they do things very well. So I definitely don't think there's any key or secret to beating them. I think you have to play very sound football, you have to play disciplined, everybody has to do their job and you have to play at your best.
Q: What do you see from Brady in terms of how he moves in the pocket to buy time?
JW: He's very comfortable back there. I mean he knows what he's doing, he knows - his o-linemen know where he's going to be, he knows how to shuffle around and slide around to get into the open spot. I think he has a great relationship with his o-line in that matter where they know where he wants to set up and he knows where he wants to set up and if he needs to make an adjustment he can. But I think that's one of his - definitely one of his strengths is his ability to move around, find the open window, find the open space and get the ball out quick as well. I mean he's been very good at that his whole career.
Q: With what you've been through the past two years, do you feel a need to maximize the time you have left on the field?
JW: The biggest thing that I've learned over the last two years is taking everything one day at a time. That's what I do now. I realize that I can't change the future in one day and I can't change the past at all. So all I do is focus on controlling what I can control and what I can control is today, my meetings, my practice today, trying to be the best I can be today. Obviously it sounds very cliché, but if the last two years have taught me anything, it's do what you can do today to put yourself in the best position for tomorrow. So that's what I've been working on and that's all I want to do. Because if I take care of that, if I take care of today, the rest will take care of itself. I obviously have goals and things that I want to accomplish but if I don't do what I need to do today, those don't mean anything.