First of all, there's a good chance that Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak was kidding when he talked about using defensive end J.J. Watt on offense in a goal-line package.
Oh, how I hope he's serious.
JJ Watt is constantly asking to be in a goal line package. Kubiak says he might get in on their "Wisconsin" package with 81 and 88. #Texans
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 13, 2013
Fine, fine, he's kidding about using Watt with fellow Wisconsin tight ends Owen Daniels (81) and Garrett Graham (88). Some media members in attendance conceded he was joking around (“We might let him in there at some point,” Kubiak said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “But it’s not going to be anytime soon").
But if he really is considering it, it's fairly brilliant.
Watt is 6-6, 295 pounds, has enormous hands (he wears a 4-XL glove) and is a freakish athlete. Remember this?
So we're clear that he would be an absolute nightmare to match up with on the goal line, right?
It's not like it's totally unfamiliar to him either. Watt started his college career at tight end at Central Michigan, before finding his calling on the defensive line at Wisconsin. He lined up at receiver in the Pro Bowl and had a short slant pass go through his hands, so he could use some work.
Just in case, Watt works out with the receivers catching balls from the Jugs machine.
“It’s just about being an athlete," Watt said when asked about working on the Jugs machine, according to the team's transcript. "I have fun, catching balls is fun, just doing whatever you can to be an athlete, working on hand-eye coordination, and the little things. It never hurts to be able to catch a football.”
And he has been pestering Kubiak about giving him a chance on offense. It's not unprecedented. Hall-of-fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp caught four balls, two for touchdowns, in his career. The New England Patriots have famously used players on both sides of the ball. Linebacker Mike Vrabel had 10 career touchdown receptions.
Smart teams use their best players in as many advantageous ways as possible. And if Watt could score a few touchdowns ...
“I’ve been lobbying since day one," Watt said. "It hasn’t worked yet, so I don’t think it’s going to work anytime soon but it’s his team.
“We always joke about. It’s never anything really serious. Who knows? Maybe one day.”
That would be fun. And maybe pretty smart, too.