The degree of disappointment coming from Houston over the selection of Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt has a lot less to do with Watt and a lot more to do with his position.
“That’s fine,” Watt said when asked about people suggesting the pick is just OK. “I’ve heard there have been some disappointed people and that’s fine with me. I’ve been doubted before and Coach [Wade] Phillips and the coaches here all have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself as a football player. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. If the coaches believe in me and if I believe in myself and the team, we’re going to be just fine.”
Phillips compared Watt to Phil Hansen, a guy who played for Phillips in Buffalo.
Now, with Watt joining incumbent ends Williams and Smith as three of the team’s best seven players on the defensive front, we contemplate how to get them all on the field.
Since Phillips joined the Texans after the 2010 season, the consistent talk has been of Williams being used as an end in the same way Bruce Smith was when Phillips coached him in Buffalo.
“I think it gives us a lot of versatility with Mario now,” Phillips said. “[Watt] can play the left end for you and that gives you some versatility with what you want to do with Mario. I think that’s a big key point for us also.”
Two other moments from Phillips with the Houston media Thursday and Friday:
Where will Watt play?
“I think he’ll play defensive end, although you saw him in the pass rush situations, you saw him on the highlight film play on the nose and beat the center because he’s a good athlete and if you get him one-on-one, he’s going to give them problems. Just like all our guys, we’re going to try and get him one-on-one as much as we can. I look to him to play at defensive end on first and second downs and maybe go inside on third, but that remains to be seen. When you’ve got [Connor] Barwin and Williams outside, if you he can play inside which I think he can, we saw him do that in the pass rush and that was a strong area for him. He’ll fit well.”
On moving Mario Williams to outside linebacker:
“There’s a possibility that he could play defensive end or outside 'backer, I think.”
I’m not jumping to any conclusions, and I like the way Lance Zierlein delves into the possibilities.
But I have a hard time getting excited imagining any scenario where Williams would be asked to move backward instead of forward. And I can't imagine the Texans would mess with any.