J.J. Watt has asserted himself as one of the NFL's premier defensive linemen.
He's developed an expertise at batting passes down, which he showcased in last year's Texans-Ravens game by swatting two of Joe Flacco's throws away at the line of scrimmage.
Watt will once again be a difficult player for the Ravens to scheme against this Sunday, considering everything he does up front. Flacco will have to be cognizant of Watt's presence so that he can avoid the same kind of situations as a year ago.
"You definitely come up with certain things to combat what he does and try to take advantage of what he does," Flacco told reporters. "But the bottom line is you've got to be physical with him. You've got to get your hands on him. I think if you do that, that's when you're giving yourself the best chance. If you're not physical with him and you basically don't play football, then obviously he's going to have his day and have his way."
The offensive line will do its part to try and contain Watt. Watt already has two sacks and three pass deflections this season. Baltimore's line has given up six sacks combined to Denver and Cleveland.
"You've just got to try to be as physical as you can with him and stay under control so he doesn't swim over you or dodge you left or right," Flacco said. "He's a good player. He's going to do his thing, but we've just got to make sure we're as physical as possible and limit his chances."
When scheming against Watt, it's not as simple as avoiding him on the field. His presence is can be felt on any given play, something the Ravens coaching staff will do their best to counter this week.
"The biggest thing that comes to mind ... is the fact that he’s really hard to block," coach John Harbaugh said during Wednesday's media availability. "He is hard to block in the run game, when you run at him, when you run away from him. He’s hard to block when you try to pass block him. He bats balls, he gets sacks. He’s just a very dominant-type defensive player."
Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt