Over the summer, South Carolina Gamecocks legend Jadeveon Clowney joked about the number of Clemson alums on the Houston Texans roster.
“I was just asking coach what’s with all the Clemson guys out here. We got too many,” Clowney told herosports.com after Houston added Tiger greats Deshaun Watson and Carlos Watkins in the NFL Draft. “But no man, when they come here, everyone is family and we all work together to help each other get better.”
That unity was on display after the Texans fell to 4-9 following Sunday’s loss. When asked about the job security of head coach Bill O’Brien, Clowney jumped to his defense.
“Bill O’Brien is a good coach, man. Don’t bring him into it. He’s a good coach,” Clowney said, according to texanswire.usatoday.com.
One day later, Watson also rallied to O’Brien’s side with Clowney. An NFL insider posted on Twitter that O’Brien wants to be back in Houston next year, adding “I’m thinking having Deshaun Watson back will be nice, too.”
Watson is on board with that plan. He retweeted the original post with his support.
“I want OB with me!” Watson wrote, adding the 100 percent emoji.
Watson’s absence because of a torn ACL might be the biggest reason that O’Brien’s job could be in jeopardy. The rookie was off to the best start of a first-year NFL quarterback through seven games. But the Texans have lost five of six games since Watson’s injury.
He’s far from the only prominent Houston player out for the year. J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, D’Onta Foreman and Bruce Ellington are all on injured reserve, along with Watson.
Clowney alluded to the significant personnel loses when defending O’Brien.
“You’ve gotta look around the locker room. We ain’t got everybody,” Clowney said, according to texanswire.usatoday.com, alluding that O’Brien and his staff have helped keep the injury-riddled Texans competitive. “It isn’t like we haven’t been in games this year with what we got. Because we’ve been in situations to win games.”
O’Brien is the only NFL coach Clowney and Watson have played for. Both are used to stability and never had to deal with rumors about their coaches jobs when the were in college, playing for Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney respectively.
In spite of all the missing players, Clowney is playing the best football of his NFL career. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has a career-best nine sacks, 46 tackles, 20 for a loss and two forced fumbles.