Today on Mut & Merloni, New England Patriots star left guard Logan Mankins talked about the Houston Texans. I want to share a couple quotes he delivered, with one being praise for probable Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and the other some discussion on Wade Phillips’s aggressive blitzing style on defense.
Watt has been the best defensive player in the league this season, and he made a big impact against the Patriots even in the 42-14 loss. Although he did not record a sack, he hit Tom Brady a few times and made life extremely difficult on the offensive line. But the line did a solid job containing him, all told, because he wasn’t able to make any game-changing plays despite consistently putting pressure on the quarterback.
Here is what Mankins said about Watt on M&M, “He’s an outstanding player. You’ve got to take care of him up front, whether it’s running the ball or passing the ball if your want to have any success. We know we’re going to have to play a good game against him and limit his production.”
If the Patriots can contain Watt and avoid allowing him to make any truly game-changing plays (he almost did last time out before Brandon Lloyd pounced on the fumble for a TD), then they should be able to have another great day on offense. When given time, Brady will pick the Texans secondary apart. They are susceptible to the long ball, and Brandon Lloyd had a field day on deep throws against them.
Wade Phillips is one of the most aggressive coaches in the league as far as blitzing goes, and he is probably the most aggressive blitzer in the NFL. That usually works to a high degree for the defensive guru, but the Patriots offensive line shut down the blitz and Brady never really felt the heat. His pocket presence was too good, and the Texans inefficient blitzing left them very vulnerable in the passing game. That was another reason why Brady had such a big day and the Pats offense put up 42. If you only have one player generating pressure (Watt) and the other players blanking out even on a ton of blitzes, then you are in for a rough day against a good (in Brady’s case, great) quarterback. We saw it happen against the Indianapolis Colts, as Connor Barwin and Whitney Mercilus were putrid and allowed Andrew Luck plenty of time to help lead the Colts to victory with his arm.
Here is what Mankins said about Phillips and the Texans penchant for blitzing as often as possible, “He’s an aggressive coach. He likes to blitz, his teams always blitz a lot. They give you some different looks and they’re going to give different blitzes. One thing about his defense is they always play hard. He always gets his guys to play with a lot of effort, and that’s how Houston’s defense is. Those guys are going a hundred miles an hour out there.”
I have a feeling Mankins will do just fine out there, and he has been amazing (especially as a run blocker) during the second-half of the season after some injuries slowed him down early in the year.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.