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J.J. Watt Wants More

Updated: Saturday, July 27 2013, 11:37 PM CDT

J.J. Watt was so good last season that Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips called it the "best season ever" for a defensive lineman.

So what will last season's defensive player of the year do for an encore?

Easy.

"I'm going to be better," he said as the Texans reported for training camp Thursday. "Just watch."

It will be hard to top what he did last season, just his second in the NFL. He led the league with 20 1/2 sacks, had 81 tackles, four forced fumbles and defended 16 passes.

Watt spent time this offseason doing what many would find to be a mundane task. He watched video of each of his games, not once but "over and over and over again." He wanted to pinpoint things he missed and find ways he could improve.

"There's sacks I missed here and there," he said. "There's a couple of plays in the run game I missed here and there, some balls that could have been batted that weren't batted. Little things. I'm always looking at the little things. You have to be your harshest critic and I'm by far my harshest critic and I have by far the highest expectations out of anyone in the entire world."

Speaking of critics, Watt is annoyed that many have said he won't be able to replicate the success he had in 2012.

"Why not? Why not? Don't sit here and tell me what I can and can't do," Watt said.

He also finds it funny when people question whether he'll succeed once teams make adjustments to account for him. He said adjustments were made last year that involved everything from double and triple teams to chip blocks.

"If you want to focus all your attention on me, a) it's not guaranteed to work and b) you have to worry about the 10 other guys on the field with me," he said. "And I'm very fortunate to have 10 great other players on the field with me. I'm also not going to give up just because I've got three or four guys on me. I'm going to get that sack."

He's enjoyed the fame he's gained from his work on the field and related stories about his delight at seeing pictures of fans wearing his jersey in places as far away as Japan. He loves Houston and the support he receives everywhere he goes, even if it is a little overwhelming at times. He said his plan to go out for breakfast on Thursday morning was foiled because he "can't take two steps without" people asking for autographs or pictures.

Considering the speed of his rise to stardom, the 24-year-old is very aware that it could all go away at any moment. That, he says is one of the things that drives him to improve.

This year, he's excited to play with ball-hawking safety Ed Reed and about the return of linebacker Brian Cushing from knee surgery.

Reed had surgery to repair a partly torn labrum on April 30 and it's unclear when he'll be ready to play. He wasn't available on Thursday, but Andre Johnson, who has been close with Reed since the two played together at Miami, provided an update.

"He feels like he's ahead of schedule," Johnson said. "He said he's feeling fine and he'll be ready to go for opening day."

Watt, who earned the moniker J.J. Swatt for his knack for batting down passes, has grand plans for how Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowler, can help complement his game.

"I hope we're going to the end zone many, many times," Watt said. "Ed and I talk about it all the time. I want to be tipping him interceptions all the time."

Watt has noticed a different focus among the team than it had at the beginning of the season and believes it is partly due to the disappointing way Houston finished the regular season. The Texans began the season 11-1 before losing three of their last four regular-season games, which cost them bye week and home-field advantage in playoffs.

"We definitely didn't play up to our potential at the end of the season last year," he said. "We just didn't finish the season strong and that's what we need to do."

Houston won the AFC South title and its first-round playoff game in each of the last two seasons before losing in the divisional round. That kind of performance is unacceptable to Watt this year.

"Division championships that's cool, but that's old news. First-round playoff wins - cool - but that's old news," he said. "We have one singular goal."

-AP
J.J. Watt Wants More


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Scores & Schedules

January 31, 2015 08:09 GMT

Latest Scores; upcoming games

NBA

Friday's Games

Philadelphia 103, Minnesota 94

Atlanta 105, Portland 99

Houston 93, Boston 87

Toronto 127, Brooklyn 122, OT

Cleveland 101, Sacramento 90

New Orleans 108, L.A. Clippers 103

Dallas 93, Miami 72

Utah 110, Golden State 100

Phoenix 99, Chicago 93

Saturday's Games

Toronto at Washington, 7 p.m.

Dallas at Orlando, 7 p.m.

Sacramento at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Houston at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Memphis, 8 p.m.

Cleveland at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Portland at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.

Charlotte at Denver, 9 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, 9 p.m.

Phoenix at Golden State, 10:30 p.m.

TOP 25 MEN'S BASKETBALL

Friday's Game

( 6) Arizona 57, Oregon State 34

Saturday's Games

( 1) Kentucky vs. Alabama, 7 p.m.

( 2) Virginia vs. ( 4) Duke, 7 p.m.

( 3) Gonzaga vs. Memphis, 10 p.m.

( 5) Wisconsin at Iowa, Noon

( 7) Villanova at DePaul, 2 p.m.

( 8) Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, Noon

( 9) Kansas vs. Kansas State, 2 p.m.

(10) Louisville vs. (13) North Carolina, 7 p.m.

(12) Wichita State at (18) Northern Iowa, 4 p.m.

(14) VCU vs. Richmond, 2 p.m.

(15) Iowa State vs. TCU, 2 p.m.

(17) West Virginia vs. Texas Tech, Noon

(19) Texas at (20) Baylor, 6 p.m.

(21) Georgetown at Creighton, 2 p.m.

(22) Indiana vs. Rutgers, 3:15 p.m.

(24) Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m.

(25) Butler at Marquette, 2 p.m.

NHL

Friday's Games

St. Louis 3, Carolina 2, SO

Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 1, OT

Colorado 3, Nashville 0

Vancouver 5, Buffalo 2

Chicago 4, Anaheim 1

Saturday's Games

Washington at Montreal, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Detroit, 2 p.m.

Arizona at Ottawa, 3 p.m.

Dallas at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.

Toronto at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Carolina at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

Florida at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles at Boston, 7 p.m.

Columbus at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Edmonton at Calgary, 10 p.m.

Chicago at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

TOP 25 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Friday's Games

( 9) Florida St. 82, Georgia Tech 62

(11) Arizona St. 68, Colorado 60

(19) Princeton 96, Harvard 46

Saturday's Games

( 7) Oregon State vs. Southern Cal, 5:30 p.m.

(12) Stanford vs. Washington State, 3:30 p.m.

(19) Princeton at Dartmouth, 6 p.m.

(25) Chattanooga vs. Mercer, 3 p.m.

NFL

Friday-Saturday

No games scheduled

Sunday - Super Bowl

New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks at Glendale, Ariz., 6:30 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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