Jul 26, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) runs onto the field during training camp at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s take a look at the rookie year of one J.J. Watt. For as great as he has been in 2012 and 2013, it really wasn’t the 2011 season that got everyone’s attention. That interception against the Bengals in the playoffs did wow people. He started all 16 games, had 48 solo tackles and 8 assists. His sack numbers were a pedestrian 5.5. Not really the MegaWatt we have come to know and he to expect. The 4 passes defended were amusing, but even that didn’t get him really noticed as it were.
So how will Jadeveon Clowney, whose going to be playing at outside linebacker going to fair? I know, it’s not as fair to compare players in different positions, but for this stay with me. For starters, Clowney is more naturally gifted as an athlete. That’s not taking away from either man, Watt works harder before most people do in a week to be who he is. Clowney was blessed with an advantage however despite the rumors he’s showing he works hard as well. Still, they are both large, fast and frankly liable to be the focus of the opposing teams.
That is where Clowney has the advantage over Watt in terms of his rookie season. Think back to 2011. The Texans didn’t have anyone to really scare other teams. Sure Antonio Smith was in his prime, Conner Barwin was out there playing aggressively, but the Texans didn’t have a J.J. Watt that the offenses focused on. How many players do you waste trying to cover those two alone? You can’t double team them both, and while Clowney will be expected to drop back into coverage from time to time I fully anticipate that Crennel will line him up as if he’s in coverage and then send him flying at the quarterback.
It’ll be fun to see how many times these two meet in the backfield, and who get’s the most sacks. I believe Watt will win for the season, and Clowney will have a much better over all rookie year stat wise then Watt did.
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