Packers: How J.J. Watt could improve Green Bay’s defense

J.J. Watt (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
J.J. Watt (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Recently, star defensive end J.J. Watt announced he had been cut by the Houston Texans. Among the talks of what teams could potentially land the former Wisconsin football standout were the Green Bay Packers.

At first, many fans thought this was a far-fetched pipe dream but a recent article published by Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber indicated that Green Bay is indeed involved in the pursuit of Watt.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few reasons why the Packers’ defense would benefit from a player like J.J. Watt.

Reason #1: Watt’s pass-rushing ability

Even in a “down” year statistically for Watt, he still produced. Starting all 16 games for the first time since the 2018 season, he tallied 36 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 17 QB hits, and five sacks.

Career wise, Watt is one of the best pass rushers of the last decade. In 10 seasons with Houston, he tallied 101 total sacks, second in that span behind Denver’s Von Miller. He averaged 10.1 sacks per season with Houston over those 10 seasons as well.

A very good thread posted on Twitter by PFF’s Steve Palazzolo breaks down just how good Watt was and how good he still is as a player. Whether on the edge or inside, he can make an immediate impact on defense as a pass rusher.

Reason #2: Watt’s run-stopping ability

Watt not only is impactful as a pass rusher, he’s also made an impact stopping the run. His speed and quickness off the ball is nearly impossible to slow down, let alone completely shut down. That’s where Watt has the advantage over nearly every offensive lineman in the league. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Watt led the league last year in double-team percentage at 30 percent, followed by current Packers OLB Za’Darius Smith at 27 percent.

Watt, even at age 31, still has elite speed off the ball, that when combined with his never-ending motor as a player, still makes him a formidable force on defense whether lined up on the interior or on the edge.

Reason #3: Watt’s leadership

Lastly is his ability to be a team leader and motivator. A big example of this came after the Texans’ Week 16 loss, bringing their record to 4-11 overall. Watt was asked about how they would end up regrouping and finishing the season. This was his response:

"“If you can’t come in and put work in in the building, go out to the practice field and work hard, do your lifts, and do what you’re supposed to do then you should not be here”, Watt said.“There are a lot of people that watch us and invest their time and their money into buying our jerseys and buying a whole bunch of [expletive].”"

That pretty much sums up his leadership level as player as well as a person. He will give you 100 percent effort week in and week out, regardless of team record. He brings it each and every time he steps on the field.

With the Packers, he’d be even hungrier than ever now that he’s going to have a realistic shot at winning a championship. J.J. Watt becoming a Packer makes sense both from Watt’s perspective as well as Green Bay’s perspective.

He knows he has some gas left in the tank, it’s now up to Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst and executive vice president of football operations Russ Ball to strike a potential deal and pull the trigger.