In only his third career start, Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson is living up to the hype from folks like his head coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney. Watson is now generating hype from his NFL colleagues.
“He just has swag,” running back Lamar Miller told reporters after Sunday’s 57-14 (not a typo) win. “He keeps everybody going, you know, he leads the offense, he commands the huddle and he just makes sure everybody is playing fast and doing their assignment. He’s just moving the ball with them.”
Coach Bill O’Brien was a bit more measured regarding the player who clearly should have been the starter from the start of the offseason program.
“I mean, he’s a good player,” O’Brien told reporters. “He’s a very smart guy. These guys, they believe in him. He works very hard. He’s got a fantastic way about him. He’s a humble kid, was raised the right way and he works very hard. He’s got great questions. He’s got great suggestions. He’s got a good mind for a lot of different things, not just football. He’s an excellent kid and he’s fun to coach.”
O’Brien specifically praised praised Watson’s vision.
“He sees the game pretty well,” O’Brien said. “There’s a lot of things that he sees. I know he does a good job offensively, but overall, he’s seeing a lot of different things — third-down blitzes for the first time, red area things for the first time. I think he’s making smart decisions. That interception, that’s on me. I got a little greedy there at the end. I think he’s made some really good decisions. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a very calm guy. He’s a very thoughtful guy. So he’s always going to try to make the best decisions for the team.”
O’Brien also had good things to say about Watson’s arm and legs.
“He really can throw the football,” O’Brien said. “He’s a very accurate passer. He’s got big hands. He can really sling it and he’s a very smart runner. Running is not all about speed. It’s about instincts and understanding how plays are being blocked and understanding the defense that you’re seeing to kind of weave your way through. And so far, so good with that. But, again, next week’s another huge challenge. I’m just telling you. I’m not trying to be –- I’m just saying, ‘Watch this tape, great game guys, get all the pats on the back, great, but then we have Kansas City.’ Kansas City is one of the best teams in football. So, we have a big week ahead of us here. We can’t wait. We have to get to work against those guys on Wednesday.”
That’s a great point from O’Brien about speed. Watson isn’t going to rocket by defenders; he’s going to weave through traffic, going where the defenders aren’t, and where they won’t be. As a result, the Texans should finally be in good hands at the quarterback position.
The Texans, now at 2-2, will face the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, in what will be Watson’s first game before a prime-time broadcast audience.