Will J.J. Watt be used differently in the Houston Texans 2020 defense?
If he is, Watt isn't telling.
What the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year did reveal though, was that he liked new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver's vision for the upcoming season and that the two talk "all the time."
"We have great conversations and we definitely have some exciting plans," Watt said. "I like what he has planned for the defense, I think that he's going to bring some new things, some fresh things while also building off of some of the things that RAC (Romeo Crennel) has taught him over the years as well. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not going to sit here and divulge exactly how I'm going to be used and what our playbook is going to look like, but I am looking forward to playing in Weave's defense."
Weaver, a former seven-year NFL defensive end in the NFL, is highly-respected by players, especially his star defensive end. Watt, a 10-year veteran, is the longest-tenured Texan on defense followed by outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, entering his ninth season.
"Particularly with guys like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, they understand the scheme," Weaver said May 13. "They're very smart players, so they're never trying to do anything intentional or malicious to hurt the defense. They know what they've got to do. That being said, while we want our defense to be disciplined, we want everybody to do what they're supposed to do, I don't what them to be robots. There's certain players that you've got to give a little bit of professional initiative and let them go make plays. I don't want to handcuff them."
Weaver will still assume responsibilities as the Texans defensive line coach, a position he has held since 2016. Romeo Crennel will also assist in his new role as associate head coach, which included some words of advice and wisdom to a defensive Zoom meeting on Wednesday.
Last year, Watt led the league with 21 quarterback hits before a season-ending pectoral injury sidelined him after eight games. He also added 24 total tackles (15 solo), four tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He came off injured reserve in time for the Texans Wild Card Round against Buffalo and landed a crucial third-quarter sack on Josh Allen that energized the NRG Stadium crowd.
Having played for him for the last four seasons, Watt was effusive in his praise for his position coach.
"I love Weave," Watt said. "I think Weave is an incredible coach, I think that he's a great man, I think that he's going to do an unbelievable job for us as d-coordinator. I think that he has a great mixture of knowledge of the game, experience, but also personality to be able to handle the players in the room, to be able to inject some fun and excitement into meetings, practice and everything, all while bringing the knowledge necessary to run a good defense.
Houston will open the 2020 regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday, Sept 10.