Has J.J. Watt done enough this season to be considered an MVP candidate? He has a supporter on the opposing sideline in Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
"That's an easy question to answer," Bradley said Wednesday. "I think he is extremely deserving watching him on tape and just the impact that he has. I always judge it by if he's internally motivated. Does he want to be the best? You put a check mark by him in that category. Then, does he elevate everybody around him to a higher level, and he does that, so put another check by his name. I think when you have a guy like that, that elevates people and is internally motivated, those players are special and they don't come around very often. He has those traits and then all of the statistics that back it up as well."
Bradley, now in his second season as head coach in Jacksonville, knows a thing or two about defense. He played an integral role in forming Seattle's "Legion of Boom" defense as the Seahawks defensive coordinator for four seasons (2009-2012), and leading them to the postseason twice.
Watt's constantly-changing position at the line isn't easy and a big part of what makes him a challenge when game-planning against the Texans. Head coach Bill O'Brien acknowledges that Watt can play in any number of spots: defensive end, tackle, nose guard, and even "float around and play in a linebacker spot."
"That is hard to do," Bradley said. "I'm just thinking of our scheme. To have the ability to do that and just to coordinate it is hard. Then to see him and see how active he is and the mismatches he gets because of it, it's unbelievable now. He lines up as a right end and then he'll line up over a guard, and that's a tough matchup when he's over guard. Just can play multiple positions, and it makes it extremely difficult as an offense. It's no secret, you've got to know where he's at on the field."
Watt's big plays, of course, are not limited to just defense. In his third season, Watt has become first defensive lineman in 70 years to score at least five touchdowns in a season. Chicago Bears defensive end Mack Berry had six in 1944.
With three of his scores coming on offense, Bradley joked about even dropping eight or nine players into coverage to account for Watt's goal-line prowess.
Watt may be the biggest challenge the Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles faces this season, according to Bradley.
"He is just because he can impact the game," Bradley said. "He can change the outcome of a game. Their whole defense is really opportunistic with all of the takeaways they have. You want to give credit to everybody, but he's a big part of it. Like I said, you have to awareness of where he's at. They understand that. That's why they move him around so much."
The Texans travel to Jacksonville for Sunday's game at EverBank Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT on CBS KHOU-11 and SportsRadio 610.