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JJ WATT PRESS CONFERENCE

JJ WATT PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: It’s been a very difficult year for you guys. How tough has it been to go through what you’ve gone through this season?

JW: Yeah. I mean, obviously [we] came into the year with very high expectations. [We’ve] been on obviously an extremely rough stretch here. It’s been tough, to say the least.

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Q: How would you characterize the mood of the team? Are people still fighting?

JW: Yeah. We have guys who have a lot of pride in their play and take a lot of pride in their game, so we’re going out there and we’re playing as hard as we can play, and obviously we’re trying to get a win. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a win.

Q: You seem to be a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve. What has this year been like for you personally?

JW: It’s been extremely frustrating. It’s been a very, very frustrating year. We’ve been in some close games. Like you said, you never expect to lose nine in a row, and it’s very frustrating.

Q: You have the top-ranked defense in terms of yards but are near the bottom in terms of points per game. What’s your explanation for points, which is the most important stat?

JW: Yeah, I mean that’s by far the most important stat. I think one big thing that we’ve had to find emphasis on all season long is turnovers and takeaways. We need to find a way to get takeaways, and then we also need to protect the ball. That’s a big category that I think we’d all tell you that’s an area we’ve struggled this year is getting takeaways on defense.

Q: Has the defense found itself faced with a lot of short fields because of turnovers?

JW: I mean, you’re always put in different situations throughout the course of the game, throughout the course of the year, and as a defensive player it’s your job to stand up and find a way to make the stop, and obviously we’ve haven’t done that enough this year.

Q: The Patriots offensive line has kind of underperformed this year. Do you feel like that’s an area you could expose on Sunday?

JW: They have a good offensive line. I think they’ve played obviously some very good players, but they have a good offensive line and they have a good scheme, and they’re well-coached. I think that’s one thing that they are, they’re well-coached. Obviously, I’m always – as a player, you’re always looking for the little things and looking to take advantage of what you can take advantage of, but I would say that they are a good offensive line. Tom [Brady] does a great job of running the offense and making sure that their offense is exactly in the play call and the protection that they want it in. I think they’re hitting right now, they’re playing good football at the moment.

Q: How is the spirit of the team right now given your nine-game losing streak?

JW: Unfortunately, you come in – we’re too familiar with the feeling after a loss this year. After the game and on Monday, you’re extremely frustrated. You’re upset, you’re angry. And then Tuesday is kind of a transition day, I mean for myself, I can only speak for myself. The frustration and anger continues, but then as the day goes on you have to move on to the next week, because the negativity is not going to get you anywhere. You have to come back to work, and you have to put your best foot forward and give it everything you have for that next week, and so by the time Wednesday rolls around, you start that next practice week. You have to be fully locked in and focused, and that’s the way that we approach it and that’s the way that I approach it, is put every single thing that I have into the game plan this week and into practice and into the film study and the weight room, and then go out there on Sunday and give it everything you got.

Q: You’ve been in a number of close games – eight by seven points or less and you haven’t fared well. What’s the common denominator in those games?

JW: Finish. We just need to finish. Obviously you can look at plays here and there. We need to maybe get another takeaway on defense. We need to finish the game. If we get a chance with the ball in our hands, we have to find a way to put the points on the board or we need to find a way on defense to stop them. But we just need to find a way to get those wins. Obviously this season we haven’t done that.

Q: Can you speak personally about what areas you’ve improved in and tried to better yourself in?

JW: I’m always looking to improve every aspect of my game. I think in each area the improvements are there. I feel much stronger in the run game this year than I did last year. I think in the pass game, I have a lot more hits on the quarterback than I did at this time last year I believe. My instincts are getting better. The longer you play in the league and the more plays you see and the more experience you get, you start to get more of a feel for the game. I think that’s what I’m getting the most better at I guess — that sounds like a weird way to say it, but I’m getting more experience and I’m seeing more things and things are coming to me a lot quicker. I’m able to read and react a lot faster.

Q: Did you have any impressions of Chris Jones when he was out there with you guys?

JW: He was a good player. He was a good player when he was down here. Obviously I don’t know if any of us saw what he’s doing now. He’s playing great for you guys. I’m obviously happy for him. Anybody that takes advantage of the opportunity that they’re given, you have to be happy for them.

Q: You’re out of playoff contention this year. Do you guys look at December as a springboard for next season?

JW: It’s pretty cliché but it’s the truth: I’m really just focused on one game at a time. We’ve lost nine in a row and we have to get a win. I’m focused on one week. Right now, the focus is on the New England Patriots and putting every single thing that you have into this game. Like you said, playoff contention is obviously out of the picture so you’re playing for pride. You’re playing for pride in yourself and your game, you’re playing for pride in your teammates and your team and your city. Yeah, obviously you want to get some wins and you want to go out there and play good football so that’s what you’re doing.

Q: Is there any regret that this is the weekend that you guys have that homecoming theme?

JW: What’s the homecoming theme? I don’t know what that is.

Q: Did you guys announce this as a homecoming game this weekend with the Patriots coming in and the varsity jacket thing last year?

JW: I haven’t heard anything about that, so maybe there is, maybe there isn’t.

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