Beyond the various claims that Texans coach Bill O’Brien won’t start a rookie quarterback and the comments from receiver DeAndre Hopkins that veteran Tom Savage has earned the job and vows from Savage to keep his job are the facts. And here’s one of the most important facts: Deshaun Watson has been getting reps with the starting offense.
It may be old news, but it’s not #fakenews. On Tuesday, Savage was asked about the difficulty of splitting first-team reps with Watson.
“I think [with] pretty much every team, the backup’s going to get reps with the ones,” Savage said. “I’m just going to worry about what I can control. Listen, I’m out there competing and that makes both of us better. So, we just have to keep going with that. At the end of the day, both of us, we want to win, so we let the coaches handle the rest and we’ll go out there and focus on what we can control.”
But does the backup quarterback take first-team reps away from the starter in other NFL cities? It may not be unprecedented, but it’s hardly universal.
With Savage preparing to be the Week One starter for the first time in his career, every rep is critical, and deep down he knows it. With some of those reps going to Watson, it’s clear that O’Brien is getting Watson ready to play, eventually. At a minimum, O’Brien is test driving his new car to see how it handles more challenging terrain.
O’Brien finds Watson intriguing, as does the rest of us. And if Watson continues to perform in preseason games like he did last Wednesday against the Panthers, O’Brien will become even more intrigued. As will the rest of us.