HOUSTON – New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan may be focused on his team week to week, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t noticed the Texans and their second year defensive end J.J. Watt.
"Well, the first thing, you love the fanatical effort. The guy plays with his hair on fire and that’s something you notice," said Ryan. "But the size, strength, athleticism; it’s rare to find a guy with that kind of combination."
Through 4 games this season, Watt has 20 tackles, 7 and half sacks and 5 pass breakups leading many to label him as the best defender in the NFL.
"He might be the first overall pick if you’re having that draft all over again. Certainly, he makes a huge difference and an impact," said Ryan. "Really, it’s a guy, as a defensive coach all my life, it’s one of those rare guys that come along once in a long time and he’s doing a tremendous job."
In fact, Ryan went as far as comparing Watt to a Hall of Fame defensive star.
"I’d say maybe like Dan Hampton. That kind of length and size and power," said Ryan. "That’s the kind of guy he reminds me of."
Watt and the Texans defense will try and show off their skills in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football. They will have their eyes set on getting to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who last week against the San Francisco 49ers had a quarterback rating of 2.8.
"He’s a super competitive guy. That’s what you want. You want a guy that can get it done; even if it’s not going great for three quarters," said Ryan about his quarterback. "He’s a guy that can get it done in crunch time and that's something you love about him."
The Texans defense ranks first in the NFL in points allowed per game and ranks third in yards allowed per game. Ryan knows this game will test his Jets squad in every which way.
"I thought this team last year when you’re watching the playoffs, I thought they were the top team in the NFL," said Ryan. "Then when you look at it with the running game you got that zone running game with Foster and Tate, both those guys are outstanding runners. Then you come with that hard play action that’s been a staple of this offense for a long time and you have Andre Johnson and Schaub at quarterback. It’s pretty tough, when you’re number two in scoring offense and number one in scoring defense, that’s a pretty good team."
The Jets will be without Santonio Holmes to a Lisfranc injury last week and will be out for the rest of the season.