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J.J. Watt continues impactful start to season


In the locker room following the Texans' road triumph at Jacksonville, with a face reddened by sunburn, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips flashed a bright smile and shook his head from side-to-side when he was asked if he'd ever get tired talking about how well defensive end J.J. Watt is playing.

"Never" was the word Phillips used, and he welcomed more heroics from the second-year standout. Watt harassed the Jaguars' offense with a sack-and-a-half, a pair of batted passes, a team-high five tackles and a fumble recovery. With a smile of his own, Watt explained that the big plays are just a byproduct of his teammates, timing, preparation and having a good time.

"Our defense is having a lot of fun," Watt said. "We're flying around. It's so much fun to just run around out there and make plays."

Watt missed all four preseason contests after suffering a dislocated elbow a week or so into Training Camp. He returned to practice in late August, and has been a disruptive force against Miami and Jacksonville, with three sacks so far on the season, to go with five total batted passes. The loss of time, and the new brace he wears on his left elbow haven't restricted the former Wisconsin Badger.

"It doesn't seem to be bothering me one bit," Watt said. "I'm having fun out there, and just enjoying playing the game."

In the second quarter, Watt and defensive end Antonio Smith sandwiched Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert for an 8-yard loss, and Watt dropped Gabbert for a 7-yard loss in the fourth quarter. The sacks, along with the fumble recovery and pass defenses give a nice variety to the stat sheet for 2011 first rounder.

"It's good to have a diverse game, because you're not going to get a sack every play," Watt said. "You want to affect the game in other ways. Batted balls, tackles for losses, any way you can do it is a good way to do it."

Head coach Gary Kubiak also marveled at Watt's play, succinctly saying "He's been exceptional," when asked about it in the postgame press conference.

Free safety Danieal Manning is also mightily impressed by Watt's first two weeks of 2012, labeling them "Pro Bowl"-worthy. But ultimately, Watt's not interested in taking a trip to Hawaii.

"I hope I'm not going to be available for Pro Bowl Week," Watt joked, preferring instead to prepare for a possible Super Bowl trip to New Orleans.

With all the praise coming his way, Watt was quick to point out how he's benefitted from his teammates.

"It's such a great locker room to be in because we're all happy for each other," Watt said. "I've had two good weeks here, but coming down the stretch there's going to be other guys that have great weeks. It just depends on who's number gets called."

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