- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Patriots are doing everything they can to not let Watt dominate Monday's huge AFC matchup between Houston and the New England Patriots. That includes the Patriots' defensive linemen reportedly practicing with racquets Wednesday to simulate Watt's ability to bat down balls.
Watt leads the NFL with 15 tipped passes this season.
“That’s a career number for a lot of defensive lineman – 15 in one season is remarkable really,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of Watt this week. “Of course he’s long and he’s athletic but he does have great instincts to get in the passing lane.”
Watt was a first-round pick of Houston in the 2011 draft. He started slow his rookie year but things really picked up quickly for Watt around midseason and the playoffs.
Watt carried that momentum over and is now a favorite to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year in just his second season in the league.
“He was a productive player in college but a little raw, a little underdeveloped in terms of his overall football experience,” Belichick said on a conference call. “But obviously as he’s gained that, he’s really grown with it and he’s become very adept and proficient at a number of different things and techniques.”