3. Can J.J. Watt make it through a full season healthy?
Doesn’t it feel like a whole lifetime ago that J.J. Watt was considered a bastion of health and productivity in the NFL?
It seems crazy to consider now, but Watt didn’t miss a game during his first five seasons in the league. He set the world on fire between 2011-2015, racking up a total of 74.5 sacks(!), 371 combined tackles, 15 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, and 45 pass deflections or defenses en route to collecting three different Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Then, in 2016, the narrative started to take a different course. Serious injuries to his back, leg, and pectoral muscle have crippled three of his past four seasons, costing Watt 32 regular season games during the timespan.
The good news is that, when healthy, Watt doesn’t appear to have missed a step in his claim to being one of the best — if not the best — defensive player in football. He played all 16 games in 2018 and logged 16.0 sacks, 61 combined tackles, and a career-high seven forced fumbles.
Watt is still just 31 years old — what many people consider to be the “prime” age for NFL players. Assuming he’s able to come back fully-recovered from his torn pec — and assuming he can make it through a full slate of games unscathed this season — there’s no reason to think he won’t reassert his dominance and standing as a true game-breaker on defense.
Ultimately, though, it’s all going to come down to whether or not he can stay on the field. Health seems to be the only thing that can stop J.J. Watt from achieving his peak performance any given Sunday.