Ravens prepare for powerful Watt

Ravens prepare for powerful Watt
September 19, 2013, 11:00 am
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Clifton Brown breaks down Ravens vs. Texans

There are going to be some long days and nights in the Ravens film room this week watching Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.

Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, boasts a rarely seen combination of size (6-5, 289), speed and freakish athletic ability.

One scout described him as "unblockable."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't quite go that far -- but close.

"The biggest thing that comes to mind ...is the fact that he’s really hard to block," Harbaugh said on Wednesday. "He is hard to block in the run game, when you run at him, when you run away from him. He’s hard to block when you try to pass block him. He bats balls, he gets sacks. He’s just a very dominant-type defensive player.”

Watt led the league last season with 20.5 sacks, and he also used his huge wingspan to bat down 16 passes -- hence the nickname "J.J. Swatt." He became the first player in league history with at least 15 sacks and 15 pass breakups in the same season. In the Texans' 43-13 rout of the Ravens last season, Watt tipped two passes, and one was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Johnathan Joseph.

On that play, Kelechi Osemele, playing right tackle, battled Watt at the line of scrimmage, but as Joe Flacco threw the ball, Watt got a big paw in the air and tipped the ball. Joseph stepped up, grabbed the floater and raced the other way to the end zone.

That's the kind of game-changer Watt threatens to be on every play.

Watt, a first-round pick (No. 11 overall) out of Wisconsin in 2011, also led the Texans last season with 81 tackles and forced four fumbles.

Through the first two games this season, Watt has 12 tackles, two sacks and three pass breakups.

Watt will line up in various spots along the Texans' defensive front, and when the Ravens break the huddle, they will quickly identify where he is.

"You understand, obviously, where he's at on the field," guard Marshal Yanda said.

Quarterback Joe Flacco said that "the bottom line is you’ve got to be physical with him. You’ve got to get your hands on him. I think if you do that, that’s when you’re giving yourself the best chance. If you’re not physical with him and you basically don’t play football, then obviously he’s going to have his day and have his way."