Patriots breaking out the sporting goods to prepare for Watt


For years, basketball coaches have prepared their teams for shot-blockers by giving practice players tennis rackets.

The Patriots are only facing J.J. Watt and the Texans this week, not Dikembe Mutombo, so they’re using racquetball racquets.

“I know coach [Bill] Belichick likes to bring guys with racquetball paddles and stick those up in the air,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, via Zuri Berry of the Boston Globe. “I’m sure there will be a whole bunch of those this week, which doesn’t always make me very happy. But that’s probably a good way to prepare for it. It’s like throwing over this wall, it’s hard.

“We’ve played other big lines before. Tall guys that are rangy. The Giants did a great job of that last year. This is another team that really challenges you to do that.”

Watt has 15.5 sacks this year, but another 15 passes defensed, or batted balls at the line of scrimmage.

“He’s an incredible player,” Brady said. “The way that he gets after the quarterback, stops the run. I think he does both those things well, stopping the run, rushing the quarterback, as well as defending the pass game with those balls batted down.

“So he’s as impressive a player as you could see on film with his agility, his quickness, his length, his instinctiveness to get his hands in the air to jump and bat balls down.”

As intriguing as the practice strategy might be, the bigger question might be what kind of racquetball player Belichick is.

16 responses to “Patriots breaking out the sporting goods to prepare for Watt

  1. Remember when Blaine Gabbart said he wouldn’t do anything different to prepare for JJ Watt and his pass blocking ability in week 2? How’s he doing now? Oh wait……

  2. It’s not just Watt, that whole Texans d-line is excellent at knocking down passes so this is a pretty good idea. Watt is still the best at it, though, he has like 15 of them.

  3. Just like Brady’s memorable superbowl quote regarding the Giants D-line, it’s like throwing through a forest out there…

  4. Belichick does wacky stuff like this all the time, including throwing his shoes at a quarterback he was working out to test his concentration under pressure.

  5. J.J. Watt reminds me of Shawne Merriman when he was playing for the Chargers with a little bit of juice running through his veins. I hope we don’t end up finding out Watt has been doing the same. He seems to dominate whoever he goes against, no matter if its a Pro Bowl Tackle or a double team. Hopefully, Watt is just an all natural athlete.

  6. I am not a big Josh McDaniels fan, I just don’t like him… but if I were him, I would be doing two things in preparation.

    1: Make the no huddle offense move a little quicker so as not to let the Texan’s defense a chance to dig in.

    2: Work with a moving pocket….. something that would add a new wrinkle to the offense and keep guys like Watt off balance.

  7. @yourmind So, your implication is that he is cheating somehow? Give me a freakin break. They are all tested anyway.
    Watt is simply very talented, and a very hard worker. In addition, he is humble as hell.
    To cast aspersions like that is absolutely ridiculous.
    You must be lacking in some way…….

  8. Also, put anyone you wish against him. This ain’t the Rose Bowl and Watt has dominated any individual lineman placed on him for 2 years.
    In addition, Watt plays any position on the line, so good luck with moving Cannon around on the O-line in response.
    Double teaming him is your best strategy, but then that leaves openings elsewhere.’
    Good luck…

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