When the Steelers play the Houston Texans on Christmas Day, it will be more just a football game for T.J. Watt. It will be a family reunion.
Watt’s older brother, J.J. Watt, is a defensive end for the Texans. And while he won’t be on the field, on injured reserve after suffering a broken leg earlier this season, the two will spend some time together, even if for the first time they aren’t rooting for each other’s team.
The Watt brothers, along with their parents, will spend time together on Christmas Eve, enjoying what families do at the holidays.
“He is going to come over to my house, we are going to do a little Christmas,” said J.J. Watt.
“Open up some gifts and have a nice little meal together. We haven’t gotten to have a family Christmas in a long time. Unfortunately Derek (Watt) won’t be able to be there because he is playing on Christmas Eve. But we will be able to watch Derek’s game, have a little dinner, and spend time together, which will be awesome.”
J.J. Watt talked more about his younger brother and the rookie season he is having, and the Texans also weighed in on a few other Steelers’ players.
J.J. on being about to watch T.J. play each week:
“That is one of the only advantages of the unfortunate situation I am in is that I get to watch both of my brothers every week. I get to sit down and watch their games in depth and really focus on them. That’s been really nice for me. Just a lot of pride. You sit there on the couch, I am so proud of what they have accomplished, you watch them and it’s really a joy.”
J.J. on the his favorite play T.J. has made this season:
“He has some great coverage skills. One of my favorite plays of the year wasn’t even a sack, it was that pass break-up on Jordy Nelson. I thought that was such a cool thing, being able to cover one of the best receivers in the league like that. It was really cool.”
J.J. on if T.J. could play tight end in goal line situations:
“I could definitely see it. I hate to admit it, and I will still hold it over his head that I have more touchdowns than he does, but he has the best hands out of the three of us. That kid can catch anything you throw his way. I wouldn’t put it past him, but he also is a rookie in the NFL and you don’t get those type of fun opportunities when you are a rookie. Maybe a little bit further down the line.”
J.J. on watching T.J. sack Joe Flacco against the Ravens to seal the win:
“It was awesome. I was sitting on the couch with my girlfriend watching the game. Before that last drive started I looked over and said ‘T.J. with the sack for the win.’ I didn’t get the strip sack part right, but I got that sack part right. That is special. In a game like that, in that conference, between those two teams with so much history, to be able to have a big play like that in such a big moment, it was really cool. It was fun for me to watch. Just to see the excitement and joy on his face and know how much it means to him and that team, it was really special.”
J.J. on T.J.’s approach of being quiet and reserved:
“It’s a combination of being a rookie and understanding his place, especially in such a great organization with such great veteran leadership. You come in and absorb as much information as you can and keep your mouth shut and go to work. It’s also part of what makes him successful. It’s all about the work, focusing on your job. I think he will come out of the shell. He is one of the funniest guys I know. It will come out at some point. He understands and knows his place.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien on Jesse James, who played for him at Penn State:
“I have a great deal of respect for Jesse. He was committed to Penn State when I got the job there. He is a great guy. He made a lot of plays for us as a freshman. I think he has always been a really good pass catcher. He is older, and physically stronger. He is a better blocker now than he was for us. He is a very good all-around tight end.”
Watt on if Antonio Brown should be in the conversation for NFL MVP:
“I think Antonio Brown is deserving of some votes. The guy is incredible. I have known him since he was a freshman in college. And just to be able to see his growth and how incredible he has been is so much fun to watch.”
Watt on what he thought of Brown when they were both freshmen at Central Michigan:
“He is fast. That is the thing I remember. The first week we were there as freshmen, we all came in together in the summer and did these sprints one night together trying to get into condition before we started with the team. AB was leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else. You could tell he was special. You could tell he was fast. Throughout the course of the year, watching him play you knew he had something special to him. He just had that intangible you can’t teach. You knew he was going places. He definitely turned out to be a great player.”
O’Brien on the Steelers secondary and packages they play:
“I think they do a good job of mixing it up. One of the things I was thinking about (watching film) is they have a multiple scheme. They will play man coverage, but throw some Tampa coverage in there, throw some blitz zone in there. Coach (Keith) Butler does a great job with that, trying to spin the dial and keep people off balance. They are tough to deal with up front, and with the multiplicity of what they do in the back end it’s a big challenge.”