J.J. Watt isn't content to just blow up quarterbacks and generally wreak havoc on defense, because he now wants to catch some passes as well.
Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar reports that the man who collected 20.5 sacks last season as a defensive end for the Houston Texans is attempting to be the squeakiest wheel at training camp, doing his best to convince head coach Gary Kubiak to give him some snaps on offense.
While forgettable for fans, he had a taste of offense and now wants a far more satisfying serving:
It’s just about being an athlete. I have fun, catching balls is fun, just doing whatever you can to be an athlete, working on hand-eye coordination, and the little things. It never hurts to be able to catch a football.
The report does well to remind us that Watt hasn't always been a defensive juggernaut, initially transferring to Wisconsin from Central Michigan as a tight end.
Should the Texans let Watt play both ways?
But when you have one of the best players in the NFL dominating from the side of the ball he was seemingly born to play, a coach is going to be a tad cautious about granting wishes to make him a two-way player.
Noting how Watt lined up in the Pro Bowl, Kubiak offered, "No, I didn’t like that personally. When I saw he was going to line up out there, that scared me a little bit. We’ll let him keep getting after the quarterback and maybe we’ll find him a play or two of offense down the road."
That's as close to a "when pigs fly" answer as we are going to get.
Watt seems to understand he is fighting a losing battle, because he claims his constant badgering is all in good fun:
I’ve been lobbying since Day 1. It hasn’t worked yet, so I don’t think it’s going to work anytime soon, but it’s his team … We always joke about it. It’s never anything really serious. Who knows? Maybe one day.
It's clear Watt has a love of offense that was never quite sated in college. Unfortunately, he is just too damn good on the defensive side of the ball.
There is absolutely no way a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations would put its best player in harm's way.
As an interesting note, Kubiak bandied about the idea of a "Wisconsin" package that would utilize Wisconsin alums Garrett Graham and Owen Daniels—a goal-line package Kubiak mentions would also include Watt. Still, Coach had this to say about this grand daydream for Watt: "I don’t know what part of the Wisconsin package he would play."
Chalk this up to the usual preseason banter that goes down before things really get serious. The 24-year-old is heading into just his third year of what we presume will be a long and prolific career.
There is plenty of time for the coaches to think up something creative to quell Watt's need to catch a pass in a real game. For the time being, he will have to make do with being a quarterback's worst nightmare.
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