The Houston Texans Will Have To Choose Between JJ Watt And Jadeveon Clowney Within 2 Years

By Zamir Bueno
Jan. 18, 2017

Even though Jadeveon Clowney just finished having a breakout season, there is a reason to believe that he won't be as productive once JJ Watt returns from injury. A significant portion of Jadeveon Clowney's success during this past season can be credited to the fact that JJ Watt was injured. As a result, the Houston Texans were able to plug Clowney into JJ Watt's role of playing at different positions throughout the defensive line. The role allowed the team to put him against the weakest players on the opposing offensive line which forces the other team to make a decision on whether to double-team him or not. For instance, during the wild card round the Texans received news that the starting left tackle for the Oakland Raiders wasn't going to play due to a knee injury. Due to this, the team decided to put Clowney on the right side of the defensive line for the majority of the game allowing him to line up against the backup. This strategy garnered immediate results for the team because the Raiders decided to rarely double team him which meant the lineman had to find a way to keep Clowney in front of him. As a result of this, he started to back up to far into the pocket or tried to take him out at the knees in an attempt to maintain Clowney in front of him. The offensive lineman strategy allowed Clowney to either have a free path to the quarterback or get closer to the quarterback which made it easier for him to tip passes.

[Jadeveon Clowney Mic'd Up for His Incredible INT vs. Raiders (AFC Wild Card) | NFL Turning Point]

(Clowney without Watt)

However, the Houston Texans will have a big dilemma on their hands in the very near future because both JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney need to be in the same role to maximize their productivity. As a result, the team will have to decide how they will use the role for instance if the team chooses Watt to be in the role, Clowney will be limited to pass rushing from the right side regardless of the opponent. As a result, his productivity will decrease because he won't be able to feast on the weakest player during the majority of snaps. On the other hand, if the team chooses Clowney to be in the role, Watt will be limited to pass rushing from the left side regardless of the opponent, and his productivity will decrease for the same reason as Clowney. But if both players share the role, both of them will see a drop in production because they are being prevented from attacking the weakest players during the majority of snaps. Eventually one or both players will become unhappy with their current role thus leading the players to ask for a trade or to be released.

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(Clowney playing alongside Watt)