When the Texans gave up two first-round picks to get quarterback Deshaun Watson, it was clear that he’d be the quarterback of the future. What isn’t clear is why he wasn’t immediately installed as the quarterback of the present.
From the moment the Texans picked him, Watson took a back seat to Tom Savage, who supposedly had earned the job by paying his dues or via whatever other high-school-style mentality was permeating the thought process that put Watson on the bench. Some teams, for example, don’t want to create the impression that the young quarterback has been handed anything without proving himself worthy. As if the two first-round draft picks surrendered to get him don’t already prove his worth.
The Texans should have simply made Watson the starter from the get-go. Although, as agent Neil Schwartz argued on PFT Live, Savage didn’t do enough to justify a first-half-of-first-game benching, Watson showed more potential and ability against the Jaguars, with quicker throws, far greater mobility vertically and horizontally, and the added dimension of the zone-read run, the zone-read-with-play-action, and the periodic rollout pass.
Regardless of how well Watson does (or doesn’t) in his debut as a starter on Thursday night, he should have made his debut on Sunday. He should have been the guy the Texans built the offense around. Savage never should have been benched, because he never should have been the starter.
Again, Savage wasn’t horrible. But Watson looked better. Better enough that it’s confusing that Watson wasn’t already the guy from the moment the team made him the guy by further mortgaging their future in an effort to find the first true franchise quarterback in franchise history.
No matter why or how it’s gotten to the point that Watson is the starter absent the kind of preparation he should have gotten, the Texans need to stick with him and support him, the way they didn’t support Savage. With two first-round picks invested in getting Watson — and a second-round pick coughed up to rectify one of the worst free-agency signings in league history — the Texans keep swinging for the franchise-quarterback fences, and whacking themselves in the face with the bat.