JJ Watt, Blue Collar Demigod

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Update: This article was originally written for the Houston Chron before the start of the NFL season. Watt plays offense too now and has scored more touchdowns than LeSean McCoy, Andre Johnson, etc. Please JJ don’t hurt em.

The NFL is the American, everyman gladiator sport. Especially in football, we like to hold our athletes to idealized blue-collar demigod versions of themselves. We gladly shine the pedestals for these upholders of the quintessential American virtues – grit, endurance, and civic virtue.

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Is a Texas-sized turnaround in the works for the Texans?

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The Houston Texans were unpredictably bad last season. Injuries, regression, and age all combined to mire the team in a nightmarish 2-14 campaign.

For a team coming off such a bad season, the Texans weren’t particularly active in free agency. And their draft didn’t produce many major (at least, not on first glance) contributors in the way of offensive skill players. The defense will undoubtedly be better, with guys returning from injury (i.e. Brian Cushing), an influx of younger, more athletic players (i.e. Jadeveon Clowney), and the addition of a highly respected defensive coordinator in Romeo Crennel. What about offense though? Bob McNair and Rick Smith are banking on new head coach Bill O’Brien being the key to turning things around on that end.

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