J.J. Watt has a new best friend. Not that he needed a whole lot of help to begin with, but the Houston Texans wanted to make sure that Watt had somebody to catch all those deflected passes he sends flying on a weekly basis.
What better free agent to sign than the ex-Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed? Since entering the NFL, Reed has been one of the most — if not the most — entertaining defensive players in the game. It seemed as though whenever a ball was thrown or tipped in a Ravens game, Reed was going to wind up within arm’s length of it over half of the time.
In signing a guy like Reed, who has a knack for ending up with the football in his hands, Watt gets somebody who participates in his favorite pastime — what I like to call ‘Ball Hawking.’ Like Reed, Watt plays defense as if he expects to have the ball in his hands on every single down. Whether it’s a pass that he can tip, a fumble he can force, or a ball jarred loose that he can pick up and run with, Watt is a certified ball hawk.
For Houston, this is a match made in heaven. Proving last year to have a top-tier defense, the Texans just made themselves a whole lot better on the defensive side of the ball over the next three years. Watt helped the Texans lead the NFL in tipped passes last year with 37, 16 coming by way of the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Reed, meanwhile, leads the NFL in interceptions over the past three seasons with 17.
That last statistic was for those claiming the man is getting old. He may look 50, but still plays like he’s half that age.
If I’m a Texans fan, I’m excited for next season. Houston has shown it can be dominant on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they rely on one of the league’s best tailbacks, Arian Foster, combined with a passing attack featuring one of the craftiest veterans you’ll see in wide receiver Andre Johnson.
On defense, though, Reed takes them to the top.