The release of Houston Texans all-world pass rusher JJ Watt is going to leave a pretty big void on the team in a number of ways. But one Texans player believes that the team is ready to fill the void.
Speaking to the media this week, Texans defensive end Charles Omenihu pledged that he and his teammates would step up their game. He said that Watt taught them a "next-man-up mentality" and believes that his release means they just have to "grow up a little bit faster."
“We’re all going to step up our game, guys like me and (defensive tackle) Ross Blacklock,” Omenihu said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “It’s the next-man-up mentality that J.J. taught us and we’re all going to have to grow up a little bit faster.”
It's the right mindset to have for sure. The Texans are poised for a major leadership void in 2021 with Watt out and QB Deshaun Watson seemingly unhappy.
Charles Omenihu will definitely be called upon for a bigger role in 2021. He was the team's second-leading pass rusher with 4.0 sacks and 16 quarterback hits in 2020. Only JJ Watt had more of either.
But nobody else in Houston has demonstrated the kind of game-changing play that Watt consistently has over the years.
2021 is going to be year of significant transition for the Texans as they prepare for a major culture change. Replacing JJ Watt's production may be the least of their problems next season.