At least one oddsmaker has installed Texans defensive end J.J. Watt as the favorite to be named the NFL’s defensive player of the year this season despite the fact that Watt has missed 24 games with injuries over the last two seasons.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien might be willing to make such a bet. He recently told Peter King that level of performance is “the kind of play I’m seeing from” Watt this summer.
Watt is not making any proclamations on that front, however. He made it clear that he has “no doubt” that he’ll be ready to face the Patriots in Week 1, but he’s not sharing anything else about what he expects in his return to the field this season.
“I’m just focused on today,” Watt said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I know what expectations I have for myself. Any way I answer that question I’m screwed. You want me to say, ‘Yeah it’s going incredible,’ then you’re setting expectations. If I say, ‘No, I’m gonna suck,’ that doesn’t bode too well for myself, either. There’s really no good way to answer that. I control what I can control. What I can control is today, working out, practice, meetings.”
With three years at high salaries left on his contract, Watt’s future in Houston will likely be determined by how close he gets to the form that made him a three-time defensive player of the year in the past. According to Watt, we’ll start finding out on September 9.