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Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
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Belichick on Watt: “I Put Him There with LT”

Bill Belichick has been around a decent defensive player or two in his time around the NFL.

During his tenure as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, he worked with arguably the greatest defender of all time, Lawrence Taylor. Now, with mere days until the Patriots high-stakes primetime showdown with the Texans, Belichick has compared another decent D-lineman to the great LT.

“There’s been very few players I would put in the same conversations with Taylor, but I would put [J.J.] Watt there,” Belichick told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s early in his career and he’s done a lot already. Taylor did it over a long period of time, but Watt’s done it pretty consistently now. He’s that same kind of player.”

Belichick, who is uncharacteristically open with the media when the subject turns to pure, unabashed football strategy, also admired Watt’s flexibility in playing all over the defensive line and handling just about any sort of blocking assignment the opposing offense throws his way.

“He gets a lot of double teams, the line slides to his side, teams try to run away from him; he does a good job with all of it.” Belichick didn’t go so far as to rank Watt above Taylor because of the latter’s skills in coverage, but added, “for the position [Watt] plays, he’s as disruptive a defensive lineman as I’ve seen in the league, in the same general category as LT.”

Watt, meanwhile, will play Sunday’s game with a broken hand. While the heart of Houston’s defense doesn’t seem concerned with the severity of the injury, it may hamper his ability to swat passes down, or even line up as a pass catcher in goal-line situations on offense.

It all makes for an intriguing Sunday night clash that could go a long way towards shaping the AFC playoff picture for 2015.

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