HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — Has the Deshaun Watson era already started for the Houston Texans?
After falling behind early in their 29-7 regular season opening loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Bill O’Brien made the switch from Tom Savage to Watson to start the second half.
Watson, who went No. 12 overall in April’s draft, showed promise in his NFL debut. He found DeAndre Hopkins after a play action fake for a four yard touchdown pass. He flashed good mobility and feel for the pocket. He provided a much needed spark off the bench.
But there were also times when he looked like a rookie.
After taking the offense down to the Jaguars 10 late in the fourth quarter, and being backed up 10 yards on a Hopkins offensive pass interference penalty, Watson stared down tight end Stephen Anderson on a seam route. Safety Tashaun Gipson jumped it, and took all the way back for a pick-six.
In the end, Watson said the experience was invaluable.
“Each rep is a learning rep,” Watson said. “I’m young, I’m new to the league. So I’m just trying to ease my way in and learn as much as I can and learn on the fly. Each rep is very important, and you just can’t take a step back.”
Of course, it begs the question: why wasn’t Watson getting reps with the first-team offense at any point in the offseason?
From the moment Watson was drafted, O’Brien maintained that Savage was his starting quarterback. He reiterated it multiple times as the summer progressed. OTAs. Minicamp. Training camp. Even throughout the preseason, as Savage at times struggled and Watson mostly impressed. It was never an open quarterback competition.
Should it have been?
O’Brien will have to answer that question at some point.
For now, the Texans have a quick turnaround, as they hit the road to take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.
O’Brien said after the game that he’s yet to make a decision on who will start. Watson said he’ll be ready for whatever.
“Same mentality,” Watson said of his approach .”Just trying to be the best player I can be, best teammate I can be.”