In spite of the attention “the other rookie” is getting for playing in his first game today, top overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney should give NFL fans plenty to holler about when he makes his debut. The Texans gave Clowney the go-ahead to start tonight’s 8:30 Eastern game, marking the first time Clowney and J.J. Watt will begin terrorizing opposing offenses together. You can watch Houston Texans vs Arizona Cardinals online preseason game 1 in various ways.
Clowney had a rough go during Houston’s preseason camp, to the point that he left practice Aug. 2 on a cart. Being cleared to start in tonight’s Texans game is quite an accomplishment in that regard, though his plays will surely be limited. Clowney is still recovering from sports hernia surgery in June.
Not that he’ll be the only reason to watch tonight’s Texans game. Clowney joins a Houston defense that ended the 2013-14 season already ranked No. 4 in the NFL. The Texans’ offense was also impressive, ranking No. 1 in both passing and overall offense, and No. 4 in rushing.
One of the reasons the Texans’ D ranked so highly was All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt has been so impressive that the Texans have announced they’ll explore using the “franchise” tag on him if necessary to keep him in Houston “for a long time.”
That’s one reason it’s so scary to think of Watt and Clowney playing on the same defense. Watt, already an All-Pro, told NFL.com that in tonight’s Cardinals game “I’m trying to go out there, compete, have fun, give myself some good tape to learn from and get our defense going, get our defense live and ready to roll.” A motivated Watt, coupled with an eager Clowney, should give the Cardinals offense some pause.
Of course, Cardinals QB Carson Palmer is no slouch, nor is he likely to be easily intimidated. Palmer finished the 2013-14 season 362-572 for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns. His top target, Larry Fitzgerald, had some late-season injuries during the 2013 campaign that held him to “only” 954 yards and 10 touchdowns. So Fitzgerald will be eager to see some action tonight and prove that he’s fully recovered.
Palmer will be without tight end Jake Ballard, who announced his retirement Wednesday morning due to nagging pain from his Super Bowl knee injury a couple of years ago. Ironically, though, he’s more interested not in testing new and returning receiving targets, but on seeing how he handles hits himself.
“I actually always hope to get knocked down a bunch of times in the preseason because if you don’t, you get to Week 1 of the regular season, week one, two or three, your body is not used to being that type of sore,” Palmer told the Arizona Cardinals website.
With Watt and Clowney on the field, he’ll potentially get plenty of opportunities to feel those hits.
You can watch tonight’s Texans vs. Cardinals preseason game online via the NFL’s Preseason Live service. That package grants viewers access to watch any and all out-of-market football games for $19.99. Or, if you’re an NFL Network subscriber through your satellite or cable TV package, you can watch the game online free via the NFL Online website once you put in your account info for your provider.