J.J. Watt: Texans are a different team than I remember

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The Texans once had Duane Brown, J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus, among others, playing for them. They had a 24-0 first half lead over the Chiefs in a 2019 divisional playoff game they eventually lost 51-31.

Since then, Houston is 5-17 and starting over.

The version Watt faces Sunday is hardly recognizable.

“There’s obviously something more to it,” Watt said Thursday of playing his former team, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “I don’t think that it’s what people may think it is because, I mean, you look at the roster and you look at the guys that are there, I mean it’s been so massively turned over that there’s only a handful of guys that are even there from last year that I played with.

“So, it’s not like, I’m like, ‘Oh, I want to go and beat my old team’ or ‘Oh, I can’t wait to face this guy,’ because it’s not the same team. It’s not the same organization that I remember and that I was a part of.'”

Watt played 10 seasons with the Texans, winning three defensive player of the year awards. He has not parted with most of his Texans gear and always will be associated with the franchise that drafted him in the first round.

But after getting his requested release in February and eventually signing with the Cardinals, Watt gets a chance to finally win a championship. The Texans, who won four division titles in Watt’s 10 seasons with them, are 1-5 and don’t have “many guys” Watt knows.

“That’s why it hurts me to see where it is now, because I believe those fans deserve to be living those high times and to be experiencing those great moments and it hurts to know that they’re not, and to know that they’re struggling,” Watt said. “So, I hope that they get back there at some point and I hope that they get to do that because I know first-hand it’s an unbelievable place to play when you’re rolling.”

Watching film of the Texans, though, brought back some fond memories for Watt.

“When I turn on the film this week and I watch the games and you’re looking at NRG Stadium, for 10 years, I’ve looked at that film and I’ve been watching the team in blue and white,” Watt said. “And now I’m watching it from the other perspective and I’m studying those guys, so it is, it’s definitely different. But I don’t think I’m going to forget which guy I’m supposed to tackle if that’s what you’re asking.”