JJ Watt underwent surgery for a herniated disc recently and the Texans subsequently placed him on the Physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This means he will miss training camp and, likely, a few games. It could be many games, it all depends on the rehab.
Now, the bright side to this is that Watt is possibly not human and his body will regenerate quickly allowing him to suit up and start in Week 1, notch up four sacks and tip a couple of passes. The reality is probably that he misses some time, so what is the implication?
There is no such thing as ‘next man up’ when talking about an all-time talent like Watt but the Texans do have former first overall pick and someone who was talked about as having the potential to be on Watt’s level, Jadeveon Clowney.Injuries have derailed Clowney’s progress but in the latter half of last season, we began to see more of the player the college tape promised. There is much more for Clowney to do but his continued development could help mitigate Watt’s absence.
Really, you can’t look for someone to replace Watt’s presence on the line, but players can up their own game to solidify the Texans. Hopes are high for sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney who looked good in spots last year and could help a solid LB corps. Devon Still came in and he might see more work than the brass were expecting early in the season. Everybody’s favourite meat smoking dancer, Vince Wilfork will need to show more than last year in anchoring the line too.
All in all, it’s hard to say that the Texans are going to do anything other than miss Watt and what team wouldn’t? Whether you find his all-American, aw-shucks, boy next door, hero, work all hours, butter wouldn’t melt persona cloying or captivating, he is a phenom, a joy to watch and key to the Texans hope of repeating as AFC South champs.
Gareth Duxbury enjoys football both American and Association. Follows Washington in the former, Sheffield Wednesday in the latter. His love of QB play only topped by his fandom of Inside Linebackers. He tweets from