ESPN If J.J. Watt has his way, he might be doing his signature military salute celebration after touchdown receptions, as well as after sacks, this season. The Houston Texans’ star defensive end talked Tuesday about his desire to play on offense for the Texans in their goal-line packages this season. J.J. Watt, seen here catching passes before a game vs. the Patriots last season, would like to play some offense in 2013. “Whatever I can do to help the team win, I will do,” Watt, who was The Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year last season after registering a league-best 20.5 sacks, said Tuesday. He said his desire to play offense isn’t new and so far his conversations with coach Gary Kubiak have taken on a joking manner, but he isn’t giving up hope. “I’ve been lobbying since Day 1. It hasn’t worked yet, so I don’t think it’s going to work anytime soon but it’s his team,” he said. Watt, who went to Central Michigan to play tight end before being switched to defense after transferring to Wisconsin, likes to catch balls from the Jugs machine with the other receivers in practice. “It’s just about being an athlete. I have fun, 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,” he said. At last season’s Pro Bowl, Watt lined up for a play at wide receiver, to Kubiak’s dismay. “No, I didn’t like that personally. When I saw he was going to line up out there, that scared me a little bit,” the coach said. “We’ll let him keep getting after the quarterback and maybe we’ll find him a play or two of offense down the road.” Kubiak revealed that the Texans have discussed a goal-line package that would include Watt. “No, we’ve talked about it actually. We talked about a Wisconsin package with him and [tight end] Garrett [Graham] and OD [tight end Owen Daniels] in the game on the goal line. I don’t know what part of the Wisconsin package he would play, but we’ll see,” Kubiak said.
There is no doubt that J.J. Watt is an incredible athlete, he is one of the best players on the field wherever he is lined up, and I think that he could absolutely make an impact on the Texans red zone offense if given the opportunity. As noted above, Watt went to Central Michigan to play tight end, and he has the size (6’5 290lbs) and athleticism to catch touchdown passes in the Texans goal line formations as other star defenders like Warren Sapp have done in the past. The question becomes, does Gary Kubiak want to risk the health of the most impactful defensive lineman in the NFL, by inserting him as a target around the goal line? Watt is the reigning AP NFL Defensive Player Of The Year, and registered a league leading 20.5 sacks in 2012, if he was injured while playing offense there would be outrage directed at Kubiak. It does not sound like Kubiak is thrilled with the idea, he has tight ends on the roster for that purpose, but he also did not completely shoot the idea down. I would not be surprised to see Watt line up at tight end around the goal line a few times this fall, and would not be shocked if he even catches a touchdown pass or two, not as a regular thing but more of a gimmicky Warren Sapp style touchdown reception to keep Watt and the fans happy. You cannot blame Watt for pushing the idea either, every defensive player or offensive lineman wants to have the feeling of scoring a touchdown, and Watt truly believes he can make an impact on the offensive side of the ball.