Arizona Cardinals’ JJ Watt says he won’t face the same Texans I remember Sunday

October 21, 2021

TEMPE, Arizona – When Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman JJ Watt looks across the line of scrimmage this Sunday and sees the Houston Texans uniforms and helmets, he will remember the memories made over 10 seasons with his former team, the playoffs. games won and AFC South division banners hung inside NRG Stadium.

But that’s where the excitement of facing the only team he played for until this season ends.

“Obviously there is something else,” Watt said Thursday. “I don’t think that’s what people might think it is because, I mean, you look at the roster and you look at the guys that are there, I mean it’s been so hugely flipped that there’s only a handful of guys that are even there from the last year I played with.

“So it’s not like, I say, ‘Oh, I want to go and beat my old team’ or ‘Oh, I can’t wait to face this guy’, because it’s not the same team. It’s not the same organization as I remember and of which I was a part ‘”.

That’s a big part of the reason Watt requested his release from Houston in February, he told Houston media during a conference call Thursday morning. Watt said he expected Houston’s roster to change as it has, as well as the lack of success that resulted.

He hardly recognizes the list, he said.

“There are so many guys that I don’t know,” Watt said.

After 10 seasons, four division championships, helping the franchise win its first playoff game, while also winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards and being named the 2017 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, to Watt. It pains him to see the Texans in their current state of disrepair.

“That’s why it hurts me to see where he is now, because I think those fans deserve to be living those good times and living those great moments and it hurts to know that they are not, and to know that they are.” struggling, “said Watt.” So I hope they go back there at some point and I hope they do because I know firsthand that it’s an amazing place to play when you’re shooting. “

Watt said that once the game starts on Sunday, it will be like any other game as the Cardinals look to improve their 6-0 record with a short week before hosting the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

Watt hasn’t parted with all of his “thousands of pieces” of Texans gear, and it looks like he probably won’t. Yet he calculated, with a smile, that about half of his hometown of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, might be dressed in denim. That is beginning to turn to the Cardinals’ red, he added.

“I mean there are 10 years of my life and there are 10 years of relationships,” Watt said, “so it’s not like I’ve thrown all my Houston stuff away.”

And yes, Watt said he has “a couple of great friends” that fit his size.

Seeing the Texans’ blue, white and red uniform in front of him Sunday at State Farm Stadium will be different, Watt said. How it has been studying film all week.

“When I turn on the movie this week and watch the games and you’re looking at NRG Stadium, for 10 years, I’ve seen that movie and I’ve been seeing the team in blue and white,” Watt said. . “And now I’m looking at it from the other perspective and I’m studying those guys, so it is, it is definitely different.” But I don’t think I’m going to forget which guy I’m supposed to approach if that’s the case. what you are asking. “

ESPN Texans reporter Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.