All Joe Thomas had going into his first matchup with T.J. Watt was a handful of snaps from the preseason.
Even though he'd already established himself as a future Hall of Famer by 2017, Thomas had a few more nerves than usual going up against a rookie making his NFL debut.
"There's an element of unknown. I always felt I could out-prepare my opponent and going into the game I was going to know what he was going to do before he was going to do it.
"If you don't know what his strengths are and if you don't know what his weaknesses are, how do you come up with a good game plan?"
Through no fault of what Thomas did, Watt had one heck of debut and ultimately served as the driving force in Pittsburgh's victory. He collected two sacks and made a game-changing interception on that day, setting the tone for a big rookie season. Watt followed with even better numbers in 2018 to clearly establish himself as one of the NFL's premier pass rushers.
Now with plenty of more Watt film to analyze, Thomas has a good feel of what makes Watt so successful. In this week's episode, Thomas examines how tackles can best prevent Watt from having a game like he did in 2017.
Give it a watch or listen. Episode 7 will air next Tuesday.