He was just over a week into returning to Texans practice after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in October.
As time inches closer to the Texans hosting the Bills on Saturday, Watt emphasizes the balance between excitement and focus, something he admits is a lot easier said than done.
“I just want to get out there, I want to play, I want to get after the quarterback,” Watt said. “I want to help in whatever way I can, whether it’s the run game, it’s the pass game, it’s setting up games – anything. Tipping, batting balls at the line, talking to a guy on the sideline – whatever it may be. However I can help this team win, that’s why I’m here.”
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said it will be important to measure how Watt’s doing throughout the game, since he hasn’t played in eight games and football conditioning is different from his rehab workouts.
Adrenaline picks up and players get winded faster in games, and Crennel said they want to be careful not to expose Watt if he’s not ready to play at a particular level.
But Watt said he could play every snap if necessary.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Watt said. “But we have a good plan in place and we’re going to execute that plan. It’ll be good.”
Putting pads on “felt like home” for Watt. His brother T.J., an accomplished pass rusher in his own right with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is expected to be in attendance at NRG supporting him.
Fans are anxious for a winner, with just the sixth playoff appearance in 18 seasons and having never reached the AFC Championship game.
It’s been eight years since Watt’s breakout moment, intercepting and scoring a touchdown on a pass by Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the wild card round.
Watt has been trying to recapture that moment ever since.
“I think that as a guy who’s been here for nine years, that feeling is what I want to capture and magnify. I feel like – not that we haven't had that same, but there was something magical about that and I want to create that magic again. The only way to do that is by winning. There's no special sauce. You just have to win. So, the only way to win is to put in the work and then to make it happen on the field and execute. That's why we practice so hard, that's why we work so hard and that's our goal.”
When asked if he thought maybe there wasn’t the same buzz around the city with just winning the division again, because fans want to see more, Watt said it’s a fair assessment.
“I don't disagree with that. It's up to us,” Watt said. “We have to work and earn it and win. Like I said, I didn't ask for the buzz back, I said I want to earn it back. So, that's what we're trying to do."