In electrical physics, a watt is the rate at which work is done when an object's velocity is held constant at one meter per second against constant opposing force of one newton. Wow, I can actually hear your eyes glazing over with that introduction. In short, a watt is a measurement of work and it seems fitting that should also happen to be the last name of rookie Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
J.J. Watt is participating in a campaign run by Gatorade and the NFL called "Beat the Heat" and he was good enough to give me a few minutes of his time to answer some questions.
Oh...you actually want to read the interview? Well, to do that, you'll have to go and hit the jump just right below here. Don't worry, it won't hurt...unless you hit the jump with a hammer, then there's the possibility of shrapnel; but why would you use a hammer?
This is a question I've always wondered since I started watching the NFL Draft: what was the first thought that ran through your mind when Roger Goodell called your name?
JW: "Where do I go?" I had gotten a call that I was being drafted by the Texans and from my mom and dad and brothers at home. It was obviously a very, very exciting moment for me, one of the best phone calls I ever received in my life. And by the time he called my name, it kind of died down a little bit and I didn't even know where to go to walk out on the stage. Kind of anti-climactic for you but that was the first question.
What are you looking forward to most being an NFL player?
JW: Just competing at the highest level. I'm at a level now where I get to compete against the best players in the world. To see where I stand and prove myself to the football world.
There's some concern among Texans fans about the defense learning a new system in a shorter-than-usual amount of time. What concerns, if any, do you have about learning Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense?
JW: I'm obviously a little bit concerned because it's only two weeks until our first preseason game. But I think that it's going to take a little bit of extra film study, a little bit of extra time at the stadium, and working with Coach Phillips very closely because, obviously, I want to come in and compete for that starting job right away. I want to be the best player I can come week one of the season. I'm going to put in whatever time is necessary to get myself ready to play football this year.
Since it looks like your free time is about to evaporate with the end of the lockout today, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
JW: This sounds like a football player answer, but I work out quite a bit and I like to spend as much time with my family as I can because I know during the season I don't get much time to see my family so I try to spend time with them. And stuff like I'm doing today out here at the YMCA, talking to the kids about heat exhaustion. It's a great opportunity for us to talk about the importance of hydration and activity in their lives and that's something we can do with the platform we have as NFL players to reach kids coming up.
Since we're talking about Gatorade/NFL's "Beat the Heat" campaign, what advice would you give to someone working or working out in the sweltering Houston heat?
JW: I try to tell people to prepare for it beforehand; like take a Gatorade product before you head out. Drink any Gatorade or water before you go out there and it'll help prepare you. Because too many people go out to do their activity and they try to start hydrating halfway through and when they're done, and it's too late and that's when heat exhaustion sets in. So you want to have yourself set up with some Gatorade or something before you go out there and it'll help you succeed.
What flavor Gatorade do you prefer?
I prefer "Fierce Grape."
Can you give us some potential signs of heat exhaustion to watch out for?
JW: Yeah, the first thing that sets in is thirst. Then obviously you start to get dizzy and you feel a little bit out of sorts. That's what we're telling these kids today, "As soon as you start to feel a little bit dizzy or a bit light-headed, that's when it's time to tell an adult." Or if you are an adult, it's time to head inside and drink some Gatorade or water, because real trouble can start there.
From watching game film of you playing, you really do have some awesome moves. What would you say is your best move for shedding blockers?
JW: It's tough to say. It really depends on the kind of block I'm going against, but I like to use the rip move a lot it's a great defensive line move, one that, if used effectively, can work really well. That's definitely one of the top moves in my game.
One of the things I noticed was your use of the spin move, and watching that was really a thing of beauty.
JW: Thank you very much, I only just picked that up about halfway through last year. It's been a really effective move for me.
You put in 30-40 hours of community service a week while at Wisconsin (1-2 hours a week required by team). Between this and the Justin J. Watt Foundation and the time you put into the "Beat the Heat" program, I have to ask, what motivates you to do so much community outreach?
JW: I think I've been very fortunate in my life. I've been put in good situations. My parents have given me a very good life and I've been very fortunate to play sports my whole life. So, what I want to do is give back to the community as much as possible because not everybody is as fortunate as I was. I want to give as many kids the opportunity to play sports as much as possible. That's why I created the Justin J. Watt Foundation, so that kids who might not have necessarily had those opportunities can be given a chance to play sports and learn things like discipline and teamwork. Those traits carry you far beyond the football field and I think that's vital to kids.
Who would you say is your favorite player currently in the NFL to watch?
JW: For the last year, I've watched a couple of guys. Guys like Julius Peppers, Jared Allen, and Clay Matthews; I watched those guys get after the passer and learn that way from some of the best pass rushers in the game. And I want to become one of them, obviously, and I want to join that elite group.
Have you picked up anything from watching film of them?
JW: I think the biggest thing I've learned from watching film is that extreme effort leads to more sacks than pass rush moves. The guys that are willing to go 110 miles-an-hour throughout the entire play and not give up early are the guys who have a much better chance of getting sacks. And that's what I'm going to try and do is go 100% all the time.
I noticed on a tweet you posted yesterday that you were looking to pick up some Winnipeg Jets gear. Why the Winnipeg Jets of all teams?
JW: I've been an NHL fan my entire life. I love hockey and the Winnipeg Jets were a team that used to play in the old days, then the team got moved (to Phoenix). So I just like that they're an old-school team that's being brought back and I want to start fresh with a new team and they're going to be my team from now on; I'm excited about the Jets.
If you couldn't play in the NFL, what other job would you prefer to have?
JW: If I couldn't be an NFL player, I'd love to be an NHL player. But if I couldn't be any of those things, I would love to be a high school football coach. My high school coach changed my life and he helped me get to where I am and I want to help other kids reach their dreams in any way I can.
What position would you play in the NHL?
JW: When I used to play hockey, I was a center, a goalscorer. But now, with my size, I would have to play defenseman.
He's definitely got the mindset to be a winner in the NFL, and I think he'll flourish at strongside defensive end. Many thanks to J.J. Watt for his time and putting up with my awkward nervousness in this interview. Let's play some football!!!!