If expectations are high for the Texans defense in 2018, Jadeveon Clowney has his sights set even higher. Now in his fifth season, the two-time Pro Bowler feels as good as he has ever felt with a new sports performance staff led by Luke Richesson.
"A bunch of new things I did a lot different this offseason and training camp that I never did my whole career with Luke and them," Clowney said in an interview with Texans Radio. "So, with them guys coming in and showing me a new way to take care of my body has helped me out an awful lot. I've never felt better going into a season. This is the very first season I ever felt this good going into it. I think a lot of guys can say that about this new strength staff that our bodies feel recovered a lot better and taken care of a lot better and just get ready for the season."
The Texans 2014 No. 1 missed just two games in the last two seasons after undergoing season-ending microfracture surgery his rookie year. Last year, Clowney set single-season career highs in sacks (9.5), tackles for loss (21), quarterback hits (21), forced fumbles (two), fumble recoveries (two), total tackles (59), sack yards (67).
While Clowney was limited in training camp and played in just one preseason game, he is expected to be a full-go for the Texans Week 1 matchup with New England, according to head coach Bill O'Brien. He will also be reunited with both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the first time since their season-ending injuries from Week 5 of last year.
"I'm very excited to have them guys back," Clowney said. "They're key players on our defense and in our building. They're both leaders on our team. To have them guys back, it's going to be a big lift for this team. The sky's the limit, like I said before, for this defense. We just have to come to work every day and grind hard, take it one game at a time and see what happens."
The Texans will open their 2018 regular season against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Sunday's kickoff is set for 12 noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
Take a look at some of the best shots from Thursday's practice presented by Houston Methodist as the Texans prepare for the Patriots.