J.J. Watt to play in Houston Texans’ preseason opener

J.J. Watt to play in Houston Texans’ preseason opener

September 30, 2017
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J.J. Watt will return to the football field for the first time in nearly 11 months next Wednesday, and he won’t be on the sidelines.


The Texans defensive end will play in Houston’s first preseason game against the Panthers, coach Bill O’Brien told reporters Saturday. It will be Watt’s first game action since Week 3 of 2016, and you can watch him take the field live on Network at 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Watt sat out most of 2016 with a back injury, but has been practicing without serious incident in Texans camp so far. His return and the emergence of a healthy have Texans coaches and fans salivating over the front seven’s potential.

O’Brien confirmed his stance during an interview with reporters in Houston on Tuesday when he was asked if he could see himself playing both Savage and Watson in the same game but in different situations.

“Sure. I mean, I envision that, I can see that, but that’s not the approach that we’re taking. Tom’s the starter. Tom’s playing well this camp. Tom has really had a good camp. He’s only thrown three incompletions in two games,” O’Brien said. “He’s really got good command of our offense, and like I’ve said, Deshaun is a very, very good, young player who has a great future in this league.

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“I mean, let’s put the cards on the table. That’s what it is. But Tom has been here for four years. The way that we want to play, the style that we need to play relative to getting guys lined up, relative to cadence, relative to protection points and route reads and putting guys in the right spot, Tom’s ahead of Deshaun on that.”

I had a similar takeaway after watching Savage lead a touchdown drive against the Patriots this past weekend. His summer has been impressive for several reasons, but seeing his progression while watching him handle the ultimate inevitability of his long-term situation has really been something. Having just about the world’s biggest distraction for a quarterback dropped into his lap — the team drafting competition in the first round — Savage parlayed the pressure into a good summer.

He is a better quarterback than the one who plodded to a 1-1 record in two relief appearances last year. In two preseason games thus far, Savage is 17 of 20 for 167 yards and a touchdown.

Jaelen Strong of the Houston Texans has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2017 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

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Strong will be eligible to return to the Texans’ active roster on Monday, September 11 following the team’s September 10 game against the .

Strong is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Strong’s appeal of the suspension was denied.

Strong was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, in February 2016 on a marijuana possession charge.

In two seasons with the Texans the second-round pick has played in 18 games (including three starts), compiling 28 receptions for 292 yards and three touchdowns.

According to Texans coaches, Strong enjoyed a solid training camp and preseason. In two preseason games, he’s earned three receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown in limited snaps.

The suspension further diminishes the Texans’ receiving corps for the opening game. Houston wideout Will Fuller is expected to miss the first month of the season with a broken collarbone. also has been dealing with an ankle injury, and star receiver has missed time with a hand ailment.

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