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Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Watt already gives Falcons' line big test

By Vaughn McClure

HOUSTON -- It was no surprise to see Houston Texans pass-rush terror J.J. Watt have dominant moments during Wednesday's joint practice with the Atlanta Falcons.

Watt
Watt
The 25-year-old, two-time Pro Bowl  defensive end pushed back left guard Justin Blalock on consecutive plays. Then he obliterated backup guard Mike Johnson with a one-hand push that had his Texans' teammates roaring his name.

"He's a beast," Blalock said of Watt. "He's a hell of a player. This is a great opportunity for our front to go up against a top-notch defensive front. They're really stacked over there; a lot of top-notch players. It's going to be interesting down in the trenches the whole week."

Watt rushed both from the inside and the edge and lined up on both sides. Right guard Jon Asamoah and rookie right tackle Jake Matthews did the best job contending with Watt, at least for a couple of plays.

Now the Falcons have to face Watt for another day of practice on Thursday and then again during Saturday night's exhibition game.

"He's a stud," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said of Watt. "I've played against him before. ... Really good player. His work ethic, you see that when you practice against him. How he competes every snap, that's impressive to see."

The Falcons' line competed hard as well. Left tackle Sam Baker was solid, at times, going up against Texans rookie sensation Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall draft pick. Matthews had a few moments against another talented pass-rusher in Brooks Reed, although Reed's quickness led to Matthews holding him around the neck during one play.

Regardless, Reed was impressed with the Falcons rookie.

"He's good," Reed said of Matthews. "It looks like he's got good technique, good form. And he seems like a pretty physical player. So, he seems like he has a lot of potential.

"You win some, you lose some. When you're out there and you're starting, it doesn't matter if you're a rookie or not because guys are going to go just as hard. That's something that I'm sure he understands."