Chance Warmack has been hearing about Houston defensive end J.J. Watt since he was playing in college at Alabama. Now the rookie right guard is preparing to defend Watt in person.
In his second NFL game.
Having to play the 2012 AP defensive player of the year twice each season in the AFC South is why the Titans drafted Warmack at No. 10 overall in April while also bringing in a new left guard and center. But Warmack will see plenty of the defensive end Sunday when Tennessee (1-0) visits Houston (1-0).
"That was someone we knew we needed some help up front anyway with the guards, but then you start thinking we need guys that can match up with guys in our division also," Titans coach Mike Munchak said Wednesday of Watt. "That's part of it, and we'll see how it all works."
Warmack calls those words a big honor.
"I really appreciate how the coaches feel about me," Warmack said. "That's just going to motivate me to do better each game and not look at this game any different than last week. I'm going to prepare for it and go into the game knowing it's going to be a challenge."
Oh, that it will be. Watt either is sacking quarterbacks or swatting down passes at the line just when someone thinks they've slowed him down. Watt also forced four fumbles last season. He had 39 tackles for loss last season along with 16 passes defended.
"He's been blessed with long arms and a long body, so he's able to do that," Warmack said. "He uses his gifts very well. You have to do the same. I have to use my God-given ability and match pound for pound with his."
Watt has the height advantage on Warmack at 6-foot-5 with the Titans' rookie at 6-2. Warmack, who inspired a fad called "Warmackin" for wearing jerseys with his belly on display, has the edge on the scale with 323 pounds to Watt's 289. Watt hadn't watched film of Warmack yet when he talked on a conference call Wednesday. He has heard enough about Warmack to know the rookie is strong.
"I assume from the tradition at Alabama that he's got good technique, that's he's had good coaching for four years now," Watt said. "Like I said, to obviously be a first-round pick in the NFL you have to be a good football player. It'll be a good challenge."
Warmack has been doing some extra study of his own preparing for Watt. The rookie sees a defensive end who likes to use the swim move and the head fake. Watt also likes it when an offensive linemen gets his hands up enough so he can slap them down.
"That's all technique," Warmack said. "You just have to have the right technique, and you'll be successful."
Watt has had five sacks already against Tennessee in his career. Left tackle Michael Roos thinks the Titans are in better position now with the additions of Warmack, new left guard Andy Levitre and Turner, and he believes Chance will be fine if he relaxes Sunday and doesn't try to do too much.
"He's a great player," Roos said of Warmack. "He's athletic enough, and I think it's just a matter of him staying patient and not trying to force anything especially with people talking about him matching up with that and not read too much into that."
Notes: RT David Stewart did not practice Wednesday because of his right calf, but Munchak said the veteran is better after playing against Pittsburgh than a week ago. RB Shonn Greene (right knee) also did not practice but could be back on the field Friday. WR Damian Williams' hamstring became sore during special teams drills and he did not practice. P Brett Kern (calf) also did not practice. But rookie LB Zaviar Gooden (ankle) practiced for the first time in about a month.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker