It’s one thing for the coaches to praise quarterback Tom Savage. The players have to believe it, too. In Houston, they apparently do.
“I like his leadership,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins told reporters on Wednesday. “From last year when he wasn’t playing on the field he was still showing the guys, telling us what we should do, helping us out like he was the starting quarterback. Now that he’s in that role it’s not surprise to anybody on this field that he deserves that role.
“He has earned it, not just from playing but from the chemistry he has built in the locker room with everybody.”
That’s an important endorsement, if the Texans truly intend to resist throwing rookie Deshaun Watson into the fray. Of course, that doesn’t mean Watson won’t be thrown into fray.
“He’s a rookie,” Hopkins said of Watson. “He hasn’t put on any pads yet. How I define a quarterback isn’t necessarily what you guys would. What you go out there and do on that field, you got to prove it to me.”
Watson has been proving that he’s not a rookie away from the field.
“He’s far from where I was as a rookie, mentally-wise,” Hopkins said. “At the quarterback position – that’s probably the hardest position to learn on the football team. He has picked it up well. He’s been doing a lot of things, not just on the field but off the field as well. You’ll see him in there in his notebook. As soon as he gets in there he’s on his iPad looking at plays, trying to get better, trying to make his mistakes right. You can’t do that on the football field. You have to do that by off the field.
“Mentally, he has it. . . . It means a lot. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Everybody sees it. Everybody sees what he’s doing outside of the football field, putting in his own time to make himself better and this team.”
So, to summarize, Savage has earned the starting job, but Watson is making a very good impression on one of the most important teammates he can. Maybe the Texans, who have a championship-caliber defense, will win either way.
Then there’s Brandon Weeden, who I feel compelled to mention since he’s in the photo between Savage and Watson. If he’s ever playing for the Texans this year, it will likely mean something has gone horribly wrong.