Houston defensive end J.J. Watt was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, his first in full pads since tearing a pectoral muscle in October, but he sounded fully ready for the Texans’ Saturday playoff game against the visiting Buffalo Bills.
Asked about how many snaps he’ll play, Watt told reporters, “We have a plan. I could play them all if I had to. There’s no doubt about it. But we have a good plan in place, and we’re going to execute that plan. It’ll be good.”
Watt, 30, was hurt Oct. 27, landing on injured reserve before being activated this week. He practiced on Tuesday and was not on the injury report, but the Texans were not in pads. He was added to the report Wednesday with the limited designation.
“I felt really good out there, did a whole bunch of different stuff to try and simulate what’s going to happen in the game and felt very good in all of those things,” Watt said. “So, very pleased with where it’s at.”
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel acknowledged that Watt’s conditioning could be a limiting factor, indicating that the three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s role will start with passing downs.
“He’s a pretty good pass rusher, so I would like to get some pass rushing reps out of him,” Crennel said. “So, you’re looking at third down, two minute, and then we’ll see after that. …
“I don’t think that we want to expose him too much if he’s not able to go at a good level.”
The Texans had 17 sacks through eight games with Watt, who had four, and then tallied 14 sacks over the last eight games without him.
In a starker difference, Houston permitted 85.4 rushing yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry with Watt compared to 156.8 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry in his absence.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen was sacked 38 times this season, while the Bills averaged 128.4 rushing yards per game (eighth) and 4.4 yards per carry (14th).
Elsewhere on Wednesday’s injury report, wideout Will Fuller V remained limited with a groin issue as he tries to return from a one-game absence.
Also limited were cornerbacks Bradley Roby (hamstring) and Johnathan Joseph (hamstring), left tackle Laremy Tunsil (ankle) and safety Jahleel Addae (Achilles).