Houston Texans: Four reasons why the team should run a 4-3 defense

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: J.J. Watt #99 and Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: J.J. Watt #99 and Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Houston Texans DE JJ Watt
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 01: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

A 4-3 may elongate JJ Watt’s career and make him more effective

There’s no question that there is some concern for JJ’s longevity. He missed the 2016 season with a terrible back injury. He busted it and made it back to start the 2017 season. He was just regaining his form when he had a freak leg injury that forced him out the rest of the season.

There is a lot of doubt about how JJ is going to be able to rebound from essentially two lost years. Can he return to the dominance that was awarded three defensive player of the year trophies? Maybe not quite to that level but, JJ still has a lot of very good years of football left in him. But, I believe a switch to a 4-3 may even give him more years in this league.

The difference in average career length for defensive tackles and defensive ends is negligible, especially for a guy that would be shifting just a few feet inside. A 3-4 end doesn’t play too far away from where a B-gap 4-3 tackle plays.

Related Story. JJ Watt, defensive player of the year favorite?. light

However, there a chance that offensive lines couldn’t afford to double team JJ as often as they could if he were on the edge. A nose tackle would still shade on the center which could create problems if opposing teams wanted to reach JJ with a center for a double team and force a guard to then reach the nose. This shift could also help prevent those crack back chip blocks teams often employ on edge rushers.

Playing JJ exclusively against guards and centers will likely make him more effective. Typically, offensive tackles are more athletic than guards and centers in order to minimize what ends can do. JJ is an extremely quick, twitchy athlete. Playing him against guards and centers would give him an enormous athletic advantage, even late into his career when players typically lose some athleticism.

JJ as a 4-3 DT would cause more nightmares for opposing quarterbacks. It would elongate his career and ultimately maximize what he can do the rest of his career.