The Texans defense was strong in the preseason even though J.J. Watt was on the sidelines.
Now he's back.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year practiced wth the team on Monday and Wednesday, and said he "feels better" than he did in the second half of last season.
"I think being out there these last couple of days and being able to get that chemistry – I mean, we have playmakers all over the place," Watt said. "That's what makes it fun. You never know where the next play is going to come from and that's great."
Watt and the Texans face the Bears on Sunday at NRG Stadium. Chicago's head coach said the Texans defense, which is led by coordinator Romeo Crennel, will be a serious challenge.
"When you kind of showcase it around No. 99, who has his type of skillset as well as his type of mindset, that would help any defense," John Fox said. "Romeo does a great job, has been in the league a long time. They play excellent defense and I think they're obviously tough to deal with, especially up front."
For outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, Watt's return to the practice field was a welcome sight.
"It's great," Clowney said. "We've been missing him for a while. To have that piece back is big. We need him up front and everybody knows it. It's going to be a big season for him, I hope."
Jay Cutler is the only Bear remaining from the 2012 squad that fell to Watt and the Texans on Sunday Night Football in Week 10 that season. He said he'll always know where Watt is on Sunday.
"He's a dominant force," Cutler said. "You have to be aware of him, you have to try to get as many hands on him as possible, you have to show him different looks. He finds ways to get hits. Each and every game, he's causing havoc and getting in the backfield."
Watt and the Texans practice on Thursday and Friday, and will host Chicago at noon CT on Sunday.
J.J. Watt--from his time as a Texan back to his Wisconsin Badger days--is featured here in photos.