J.J. Watt is the only defensive lineman in the NFL over the past four seasons to play 1,000 defensive snaps or more. For the Houston Texans, Watt has put up some gaudy numbers in the process, which also has taken a toll on his body.
Entering Sunday, Watt is scheduled to make his first appearance of the 2016 season after missing the entire training camp recovering back surgery. How much he plays against the Bears is the current question and, if Watt had it his way, he would be on the field the entire time.
“I’m sure that they are going to try to put some limitations on me and we are going to have that conversation here as the week goes on,” said Watt. “The way that I felt in the last two practices, I don’t feel it’s necessary. My body feels great. My conditioning level feels great.”
Watt has in his mind what he can do but there are still ongoing discussions on how much he will play on Sunday. Bill O’Brien and Romeo Crenel are depending on the doctors and medical staff to help determine how many snaps Watt can play on Sunday against the Bears.
“I don’t know,” said O’Brien on Watt’s workload for the opening weekend. “I always try to just do what the medical people advise me to do. We’ll decide that probably sometime before the game, talking about like Saturday or something.”
Crennel echoed O’Brien's sentiment when talking about Watt.
“You know what, I think this week is an evaluation week for what he’s able to do, what the medical people feel like he can handle, so after we consult with those guys then we will make a determination about how we are going to use him and how much he’ll get used and all those kind of things,” explained Crennel.
Watt is going to do everything he can to play a full game on Sunday but it appears he is bargaining hard to get on the field without limitations.
“I’m a guy that likes to play every play. I’m a guy that likes to go out there and do whatever I can to help the team win,” said Watt. “If they let me do that, great. If they put a play count on me, I’ll fight it as hard as I can.”