How many sacks will Texans defensive end J.J. Watt have this weekend? It depends on how many hot dogs the Portillo’s delivery guy can cram in the bag.
“I’m not gonna lie — I looked up where we’re staying in Chicago, and there’s a Portillo’s a half-mile away, so it’s going to be pretty dangerous for me,” Watt said this week. “I think Lou Malnati’s is another half-a-block.”
Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is more worried about him being dangerous Sunday. Watt, who has five sacks, will move around the defensive line against the Bears.
“The players are just, they’re going to have to be pros about it,” Lazor said. “They’re going to have to be smart; they’re going to have to see where he is. If he lines up in a spot that they weren’t quite expecting him, then they’re going to have to find ways to get help to him. . . . He can wreck a run play or a pass play.”
At 31, Watt still impresses left tackle Charles Leno.
“He’s going to bring it no matter what the situation is,” he said. “And he can still bat down balls and get picks because I’ve seen it on tape.”
Watt can talk Chicago. His wife, Kealia, who plays for the Red Stars, lives here during the soccer season. Watt grew up in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and traveled all over the Chicago area — Winnetka, Naperville — playing in youth hockey tournaments. He fondly recalled another food experience — munching fast food at the Lake Forest Oasis, a wind-aided punt from Halas Hall.
A lifelong Packers fan, Watt will play at Soldier Field for only the second time in the regular season.
“It is cool to get a chance to play there,” Watt said, listing Mike Ditka and Walter Payton as legends who played at the lakefront.
Proving his Chicago bona fides, he couldn’t let a Soldier Field discussion pass without one comment about the turf.
“I wish they would cut the grass a little shorter,” he said.
Outside linebacker Khalil Mack missed practice for a second straight day with a shoulder injury, but defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano didn’t sound particularly concerned.
“It’s part of the game,” he said. “He gets himself right by Sunday, goes out there and does it all over again, and then finds himself a way to get healed up and go out there next Sunday.”
Slot cornerback Buster Skrine remains in the concussion protocol. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney has missed two straight practices for personal reasons. Outside linebacker James Vaughters remained out with a knee problem.
Graham for Payton
Tight end Jimmy Graham was named the Bears’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is given each year to the NFL player who embodies on-field and philanthropic excellence.
After signing with the Bears in March, Graham researched charities and decided to make a six-figure donation to Ignite, which helps at-risk youth in Chicago.