The Texans have spent enough time playing without defensive end J.J. Watt over the last few years to know that life is better with him in the lineup.
Watt is healthy right now and the team is going to manage his workload in hopes of keeping him that way as long as possible. Watt hasn’t been on the practice field in recent days and head coach Bill O’Brien said on Monday that he’ll continue to be a limited participant in those sessions leading up to Week One.
“It’s just a different year,” O’Brien said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “We basically have three weeks to the game. These guys that have played a lot of football for us they do get their work, some days in the weight room, just in the weight room, or some days a lot of work in the training room or out at practice. Every guy is a little bit unique. Obviously, J.J. has played a ton of football for us at a very high level. He’s on a different kind of plan. I’m not sure how much you’ll see him out there this week. He’ll be out there eventually, but he’s on a different type of plan just like a lot of different guys.”
Watt was limited to eight regular season games due to a torn pectoral before returning to play in both of the team’s postseason games. He also missed most of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but had 16 sacks when he played every game in 2018.