O'Brien: Texans offense can't block Jadeveon Clowney


Prematurely dismissed as an injury-prone draft bust early in his career, Jadeveon Clowney went on to dominate Houston's two playoff games en route to his first Pro Bowl selection.

A scary thought for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks: What if the former No. 1 overall draft pick is just now realizing his immense potential as a game-wrecking defensive force?

Texans coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged Thursday that Clowney has been giving his offense fits early in training camp.

"Clowney's doing good," O'Brien said, via the team's official website. "I can't wait until we're out of shells. We can't block them in shells. Maybe we can have a little bit better chance of blocking him in pads."

With Clowney improving throughout the season, the Texans withstood the absence of three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to boast the league's top-rated total defense in 2016.

Now that Watt is once again flashing Pro Bowl form, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the team's brass believes the defense is absolutely loaded with talent this year.

Throw in Whitney Mercilus' 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons, and the Texans' trio of pocket-crashers might just be the envy of the league.

"You got some phenomenal pass rushing ability out there," Watt offered. "I mean you've got Jadeveon, you've got Whitney; it's going to be great. Just to see the talent that we have and the ability to put it on the field at the same time and to come from different angles, it's going to be really special."

O'Brien's defenses have been stout enough to capture the AFC South crown in each of the past two years. Even if this season's version is the best yet, the Texans won't seriously threaten the Patriots for conference supremacy until the other side of the ball holds up its end of the bargain.