If you're a player falling out of favor as the starter, being valuable on special teams could be one of your best tools. It seems former Texans safety D.J. Swearinger just didn't get that.
Swearinger, who the Texans released on Monday, had an aversion to special teams and made that clear, as first reported by James Starks of KPRC. It's a mentality that makes little sense for a player in Swearinger's position, but it also helps bring into focus why the Texans released Swearinger yesterday. While this is only part of the picture of why Swearinger was released, it shows a lack of respect for the team and its goals, a cardinal sin in the Bill O'Brien era.
"Every decision we make is in the best interest of the team and winning," O'Brien said yesterday, before Swearinger's release was official.
Swearinger declined to comment on the matter.
The Texans' motto that the more you can do, the better was never better encapsulated than in their biggest star. J.J. Watt played offense, defense and special teams and made plays in every phase of the game.
It wasn't specific to Watt, though. The vast majority of the Texans' defensive starters were part of their special teams all season long. It's a critical part of the game on which to contribute, and one that O'Brien has spoken frequently of improving.
Swearinger didn't hide his apathy for that phase of the game. He also never played special teams after Week 7, according to the league's snap count tallies. As the season went on, he started sharing more and more playing time on defense with Danieal Manning, who the Texans released and then brought back during the 2014 offseason.
Giving up on a second-round pick just two years from when he was drafted is odd, even if he's not performing at the level you'd hoped, especially when you consider the Texans are thin at safety. Some pointed to Swearinger's off-the-field antics, most notably his dog biting Jadeveon Clowney and what was termed a "misunderstanding" with a car customizer who had, among other services, put a Batman logo on his truck. Neither of those incidents alone rises to the level of being cut.
It's not as if Swearinger was a key cog in the Texans' special teams, but a refusal to increase one's versatility, or to offer all of it, hurts the team.
It's not the only reason Swearinger is gone, but it helps explain why he didn't fit with O'Brien's Texans.