Photo credit: Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
When you look at the Houston Texans defense you can’t help but excited for what the future holds. J.J Watt who is arguably the league’s best defender and a future Hall of Fame candidate returns from a season ending injury (back surgery) and will look to reclaim his title of premier defender in the National Football League. Watt has been banged up over the course of six season career but he still managed to record an impressive 76 sacks since entering the league back in 2011. Watt only recorded 1.5 sacks a season ago, so really 74 and a half of that sacks came in five seasons of play. When you do the math on those statistics you realize Watt has amassed 20 sacks in a single season twice in his pro career. That’s the output that made Watt an icon world wide and now we get to see if the veteran defensive lineman can recapture his top form. Watt isn’t a 22 year old kid anymore he is 28 year olds now and as you get older your injuries don’t heal as fast and they start to slow you down. In a lot of ways this will be J.J Watts toughest challenge ever but we’re all rooting for him this upcoming season. Watt isn’t the only guy on this defense who can make a big play either, Bernardrick McKinney also put up 129 tackles and 5 sacks last year for the Texans defense. McKinney was every where when the ball was snapped and he continuously made big stops at his middle linebacker position. This is McKinney’s third professional season so he should have an even better grasp of what Bill O’Brien expects of him. Finally the Texans have two huge contributors in pass rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus. Clowney compiled 6 sacks for the 2016 season and showed that he can make the transition to a successful National Football League edge rusher. Mercilus was actually a little bit better than Clowney in 2016, he managed to bring down opposing quarterbacks 7.5 times last season. So clearly there is at least three top tier players on the front seven of this defense and there’s also one future Hall of Famer. When you have four guys out of the front seven that can beat you every time, it makes it very tough to contain those guys and that’s why the Texans should be a terror on the defensive side of the ball again in 2017.
Charity of the day: Population Council