After missing practice recently with a sore elbow, Houston Texans defense end and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt spoke to the media about conceding on the aesthetics of his game. No, not about how pretty it looks when he bull-rushes through 320-pound offensive tackles, guards and eventually the quarterback, but about the black elbow brace that you could see Bane wearing.
“Cosmetically, I’m just not a huge fan of the way it looks but it never really bothered me from a playing standpoint so I don’t see it being an issue whatsoever. It’s just something I have to play with and that’s it,” Watt said, via ESPN.com. “I just want to be smart with it. I put [the elbow] through a lot of work over the last week.
“It’s done a lot of work without the brace for the first time in a long time, so I’m bringing the brace back just as kind of a security measure, you know, to make sure it stays secure and it stays safe.”
I’m sure Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips feels indifferent about the cosmetic quality of the elbow brace, as long as it keeps the most dominant defensive force in the NFL healthy and on the field come regular season. With all the questions and issues looming at linebacker corps behind Watt, Phillips needs his defensive line to dominate and hide the weaknesses on this unit.
If Antonio Smith continues to pressure the passer from the other 3-4 defensive end spot, Earl Mitchell can step up at starting nose tackle and remains his dominant self in the same elbow brace he wore last year, then Houston’s defense could mask its deficiencies.