During the Texan’s Sunday Night Showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend, the Texans defense lost two of their star players on defense when J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus both went down during the game. Losing both guys, who contribute so much to the defense, was very hard to watch and just shows how important they are to the defense as a whole. The Texans gave up 42 total points that game and losing both guys for the game showed. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins kept the offense going and kept the Texans in the game, but they were playing from a big deficit from the start of the second half so it was hard to come back for the Texans.
J.J. Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, whie Whitney Mercilus suffered a torn pectoral muscle. As of Monday, October 9th 2017, both guys are ruled out for the rest of the season. While J.J. is the ultimate game-changer we have on defense, Mercilus is just as deadly and is another great weapon the Texans have on defense. Mercilus is quite underrated compared to the powerhouse J.J. being on the team as well. Mercilus and Benardrick McKinney keep the linebacker crew locked down and are both leaders next to J.J. on this very good defense (when everyone is healthy). Jadeveon Clowney comes off the edge and plays backer as well, so he is thrown into the mix as another weapon the Texans have on defense. He will have to step up with McKinney to hold down the defense without Watt and Mercilus.
Watt missed 13 games last season with a herniated disc in his back and will miss 11 games this season with the injury he just endured. He provided a big boost to the Texans run defense, but has been unable to contribute to the Texans pass defense as he hasn’t registered a sack this year. He was also playing through an injury he suffered in week 1 against Jacksonville. Coming back from a back injury is always hard for an NFL player, so it’s understandable as to why J.J. had a slow start to this season. I am not dogging on him in any way as he is the leader of the Texans defense by far, but the injuries have caught up to him the last two years. Hopefully, next year he can bounce back!
Mercilus has only recorded 1 sack this year. However, before this season he has had 19.5 sacks over the previous two seasons combined. Those sacks, along with all the tackles he makes, labels him a field general linebacker in his own right alongside McKinney. Brennan Scarlett and Dylan Cole will have to step up and play big roles along with Clowney to help this defense that is already without Brian Cushing for 10 weeks and now they add Watt and Mericlus to that list. These two injuries are just huge blows to this defense that is already suffering from a weak secondary that needs help and has underperformed this season. Losing these two guys are just going to only add more pressure, but “the next guy up” motto on a sports team will be important here. Those guys stepping into Watt and Mercilus’ shoes are going to have to make big plays for the team, while helping this defense stay in games. Let’s just hope that J.J. and Whitney come back stronger than ever next year with no setbacks from their injuries.
Photo Credits: Boston Globe
Die-hard Sports fan/nerd born and raised in Houston, TX! I love any Houston team and mainly follow the Texans, Astros, and Rockets. Follow my twitter @TFoRTLeW. I also run a sports podcast with my good friend Noah!