Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

July 24, 2018 at 1:10 am.

Texans count on return of Watt and Watson

When the Houston Texans’ veterans and rookies report to training camp July 25 at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, all eyes will be on quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt.

The two star players rehabbed together all offseason. Watt didn’t practice all spring due to a broken leg and will be eased into drills.

Watson is ready to go.

“He’s been there keeping me motivated, and I’m keeping him motivated,” Watson said. “If one of us is having a bad day or we’re slacking, we’re going to pick each other up. We try to bring that good energy and positive vibes. He’s a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, so he knows what type of work you need to put in to get to that level.”

Being limited to eight games, 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks over the past two seasons hasn’t dented the legendary resolve of Watt. Two years ago, Watt underwent a pair of back surgeries. He feels even more determined now.

“I broke my back, I broke my leg and I still have the passion,” Watt said. “I’m really, really excited about just working and having fun and getting back out on the field.”

The Texans overhauled their secondary by signing safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Aaron Colvin. That will be another key area to watch during training camp.

Offensively, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien isn’t sticking with the same game plan and schemes that Watson utilized to throw 19 touchdown passes as a rookie for the most by any quarterback in NFL history through his first seven games. The Texans averaged 34 points in his first six starts, including 39 per game in his last five starts. O’Brien is intent on upgrading that production.

“Coach O’Brien is not one of those guys that’s stuck in his ways,” Watson said. “He’s open for change and new wrinkles, any way to be better and more efficient on offense. He asks me for ideas, and I ask him for ideas. I wouldn’t say he’s trying to change something that wasn’t broken, but he’s just saying that we were very simple last year.”




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