J.J. Watt on Offense? You've All Been Catfished

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Exactly nine days ago, after the re-emergence of his black elbow brace at a Sunday morning practice caused a momentary collective heart attack among Houstonians, I wrote that J.J. Watt has the capability, if he so chooses, to troll the entire city of Houston.

With a tweet, with a few words, with a black contraption buckled to his left arm, J.J. Watt can singlehandedly raise and lower the blood pressure of an entire city, affect an entire city's collective mood, and establish what the headline story on the news and the lead conversation at the dinner table will be that night. (God forbid J.J. Watt ever goes through a "crazy" phase like Britney Spears did a few years ago; the city might burn to the ground.)

That's absolute power, which they say corrupts absolutely. So far, there's no evidence that J.J. has become self-aware when it comes to his "super power," so he is not yet using it for evil reasons.

However, we've all shown we're easily trolled even when J.J. isn't trying. To wit, the latest speculation about J.J. Watt playing on offense this season.

In case you missed it (sure, maybe there were a couple of you), Watt was catching balls from the JUGS machine on Tuesday morning, an activity normally reserved for offensive skill players and defensive backs. This actually wasn't anything new for Watt, who spent chunks of time catching balls one-handed from the machine after he dislocated his elbow in training camp last season.

Well, even on a morning with plenty of news at practice (Wade Smith's arthroscopic surgery, Matt Schaub's absence for a death in the family, Ed Reed's absence to rehab with his own specialist), Watt catching balls from a machine is enough to stop the figurative presses.

So Watt, who actually started his collegiate career as a tight end at Central Michigan, was asked about the possibility of getting some snaps on the offensive side of the ball:

"I've been lobbying since day one," Watt said after the morning practice. "It hasn't worked yet, so I don't think it's going to work anytime soon. But it's (Kubiak's) team.

"It's just about being an athlete. Catching balls is fun. Just doing whatever you can to be an athlete, working on hand-eye coordination and the little things. It never hurts to be able to catch a football."

Of course, unaware that merely giving an honest answer to a reporter's question would trigger this, Watt unwittingly set in motion the chain of events that led to something that has virtually no chance of happening actually becoming a topic -- the definition of the unintentional troll. That afternoon, Watt's quotes were brought to Gary Kubiak's attention, and his reaction was interesting:

"We might let him in there at some point," Kubiak said. "But it's not going to be anytime soon.

"We've talked about it, actually. We talked about our Wisconsin package with him and Garrett (Graham) and (Owen Daniels) on the goal line. I don't know what part of the Wisconsin package (Watt) would play -- we'll see."

Yep, "we'll see."

That's the exact same thing that my parents used to say to me and that I now say to my kids when I just don't feel like being mean enough to reply with "no chance in hell." "We'll see" gives hope, "we'll see" doesn't hurt feelings, "we'll see" is non-confrontational.

"We'll see" is positively Kubiakian.

I'm going to go out on a real limb here and say there is zero chance that Gary Kubiak uses J.J. Watt, the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, on the offensive side of the ball. None. I'm pretty sure Gary Kubiak was rushed to the hospital when Watt lined up at wide receiver in the Pro Bowl, so I'm fairly confident he won't risk his best player getting hurt doing something that constitutes "coloring outside the lines."

There are certain things in the NFL that are considered "exotic" -- among them, "wildcat" specialists, trick plays, defensive players playing offense.

Gary Kubiak is not into the "exotics."

The last time that Kubiak dialed up anything remotely resembling a trick play was in 2009 on the road against Jacksonville, when backup tailback Chris Brown threw an interception on a halfback option play at the goal line. The scars from that wound obviously run somewhere deep into the chasms of Kubiak's football soul, because the zaniest he gets now is when he runs an end around with Keshawn Martin, and even then, if you look carefully, you can see Kubes guzzling Pepto Bismol while hiding behind his IHOP menu play card.

Hell, Gary Kubiak had the league's ultimate Swiss Army knife on his roster for four seasons in former quarterback-turned-tight end/fullback James Casey. Before coming into the league, Casey was best known for playing seven different positions in a game against Southern Mississippi. SEVEN!

So how did Kubiak deploy this versatile beast, this 240-pound weapon of mass destruction?

Basically, he made him a blocker. Two carries in four seasons, no passes thrown.

Having James Casey on your roster and making him almost exclusively a blocker is like hiring a stripper for a bachelor party so she can give the groom-to-be a fully clothed kiss on the cheek.

The moral of the story? If you're getting married, don't make Gary Kubiak your best man.

So yeah, while it was treated as an actual thing by national news outlets and radio shows around town, I'm pretty sure the "Wisconsin" short yardage package is just a joke on all of us, a phony-baloney byproduct of "we'll see," the Lennay Kekua of football formations with Big Foot at quarterback and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus lined up behind him in the backfield.

While J.J. Watt was innocently, unintentionally trolling all of us, Kubiak followed up with a good ol' catfishing.

Nice try, Gary.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.