Whether he intended to or not, JJ Watt just sent Jets fans into a speculation frenzy.
The free-agent pass-rusher published Tuesday afternoon to Instagram a photo of the weights and football field at a training center with the tagline: “All gas, no brakes.”
You might recognize that as the mantra that new head coach Robert Saleh is bringing to the Jets. So, is that the 32-year-old Watt not-so-subtly declaring that he has interest in joining the Jets, despite various reports of the Steelers, Packers, Browns and Titans as his front-runners? Perhaps taking a page from the book of MLB star Trevor Bauer or others in the NFL whose egos enjoy the full-court press of being wooed?
Before falling too far down a slippery slope, remember that “All gas, no brakes” is a popular NFL cliché for giving maximum effort. Saleh did not invent the phrase for the Jets and they certainly don’t have ownership of it.
Raiders defensive backs coach Jim O’Neill said last season that “Everybody uses the cliche ‘all gas, no brakes’’” in describing rookie safety Jonathan Abram. And it was a saying Saleh used frequently to describe the mentality of the 49ers defense during his four years as coordinator.
Saleh’s six-year stint with the Texans, including two as the assistant linebackers coach, ended just before Watt arrived as a 2011 first-round draft pick. So maybe it just lives on inside the Texans facility where both spent countless hours.
The Jets have the salary-cap space to lure the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but not the championship-contending roster he seeks after asking to be released from the Texans rather than endure a rebuild.