The Buccaneers' offensive linemen know that they will be facing a challenge when the team meets the Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday. Houston boasts one of the most impressive defensive lines in all of football, led by three-time All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt.
Watt is undoubtedly a big part of the threat that the Texans present, but he's not the only Houston defender capable of making plays.
"We're not just talking about one guy, we're talking about a defense," right tackle Gosder Cherilus said. "They've got 75 (Vince Wilfork), he's a load. To be honest with you, I think one of the best players on the team on the defense is 93 (Jared Crick). He plays it the right way. He does everything you ask him to do. He's a lot more athletic than you think. I think there won't be any plays off. We're just going to have to show up, do our part and hopefully it'll be good enough."
The Texans have also been getting a high level of production from outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. This past week, Pro Football Focus rated Clowney as the league's best 3-4 outside linebacker against the run.
HEADLINES: LOOKING AHEAD TO HOUSTON
"We have a plan," Cherilus said. "Hopefully the plan will be good enough. If it's not, we're going to have to do what we've got to do. That's the game – show up, be at your best and hopefully your best will be good enough."
Watt isn't the only high-level player the Texans have on defense, but he's certainly the best. In the past, the Texans have been creative with where they line their Pro Bowl defensive end up, whether it be on the right side, left side, inside or outside.
Rookie guard Ali Marpet expects Watt to make his way to the interior at least a few times during Sunday's game. Marpet practices against Gerald McCoy every day, so his standard is set pretty high when it comes to competition. But he did play for a Division 3 school prior to arriving in Tampa and expects Watt to be one of the biggest challenges he's ever come up against.
"I'm not going to see him every rep, but I do anticipate having to block him," Marpet said. "He's very technically sound and he's a very good athlete. The combination of those two things make him a very good player. You have to just combat him with being technically sound yourself. I'll see when I actually go against him, but yeah - I anticipate that he'll be one of the best players that I've ever played against."