The Patriots are using racquetball paddles to simulate the superhuman pass tipping ability of Houston Texans J.J. Watt ahead of the highly anticipated Monday Night Football matchup between the teams.
Many teams will use brooms in practice to simulate defensive pressure for their quarterbacks, the Yahoo! Sports blog Shutdown Corner noted, but the Patriots are taking it a step further. The racquetball paddles are being used to get quarterback Tom Brady ready for the freak of nature Watt, who has an impressive vertical leap and quick feet to go along with his nearly 300-pound frame.
“I know coach Belichick likes to bring guys with racquetball paddles and stick those up in the air,” Tom Brady told the Boston Globe before Wednesday’s practice. “I’m sure there will be a whole bunch this week, which doesn’t always make me very happy.
“That’s probably a good way to prepare for it — it’s like throwing over this wall,” Brady continued, pointing to the backdrop behind him. “It’s hard … you’ve just got to try to find an area.”
The Patriots use of racquetball paddles is probably a good idea. Watt has already knocked down 15 passes this year to go along with 16 1/2 sacks.
As NBC Sports points out, the Patriots using racquetball paddles sounds more like something an NBA team would do when facing a prolific shot-blocker, but with J.J. Watt anything goes. The matchup between the Patriots and Texans could have important playoff implications as well, as the 11-1 Texans are looking to wrap up the top seed in the AFC by beating the 9-3 Patriots.