Ah yes, the one reason I’m not banging my head against the wall and throwing up every time I think about this team. The reason that I can watch the next Houston Texans game with some slither of hope rather than fear and a feeling of bitter disappointment.
Deshaun Watson. Deshaun Watson. Deshaun Watson. Did I mention Deshaun Watson?
Simply put, this man has never failed to amaze me. He has bailed this Houston Texans team out of bad situations countless times, and I am 100 percent sure that O’Brien wouldn’t have a job right now if it weren’t for this magician. Watson has quickly worked up the ranks as one of the top QB’s in the league, and as long as he continues the work ethic and attitude he has shown so far, then I expect another improvement as he starts to inch closer towards his prime years.
Is he perfect yet? Not quite. That football needs to come out of his hands faster, and it’s an interesting issue in my opinion. I am not entirely sure what is making him hold that ball for a longer amount of time than most quarterbacks, but I have three theories. I will discuss the first 2 theories now and then the 3rd theory a little later in the article.
Theory #1 would be that he is confident in himself in extending plays. I love the confidence he has in himself, as he has proven his ability to escape out of the pocket along with his willingness to wait for the bigger pass rather than throw the small check-down passes.
However, this puts more pressure on the offensive line, and it can tire out the WR’s by making them run out there a few extra seconds each play at that bursting speed. Worst of all, it increases the likely hood that he gets sacked or hit on the play, and the last thing we need is a continuation of that as he has already taken plenty of hits in his young career. Sometimes Watson just needs to take what he can get, as sometimes those quick check-down passes or running for a few yards then sliding quickly rather than running everywhere in the pocket can make a huge difference.
If this theory holds true, then there isn’t much to worry about as this is fixable. His judgment in these kinds of situations will improve overtime as he continues to get more in-game experience along with more experience under O’Brien’s “system.” Time would eventually come where he knows when to hold it and wait for the big shot versus getting the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible.
Theory #2 would be O’Brien constantly telling him to, “play smart.” This might prevent Watson from throwing the ball in fear of a mistake and having to force himself to wait for the playout for a more comfortable throw. While this decreases the turnover count, it still increases the chances of a sack or a hit while forcing the offense to have to work harder for each play.
If this theory is the case, then I think it’s important for O’Brien to let go of Watson’s hand and let him unleash himself, because he might be better at the risky throws than we think. Only time will tell if the words, “play smart” has improved Watson or has held him back. While the turnovers may or may not increase, letting Watson play to his full abilities might take this team further no matter what obstacle comes in the way.
Behind Deshaun Watson is backup QB AJ McCarron. I have no problem with him, as he has great chemistry with Watson, and, in my opinion, he is the type of quarterback Bill O’Brien favors. I don’t think Bill O’Brien’s system originally fit a dual-threat quarterback as O’Brien has had to adjust to what Watson could do rather than a typical pocket QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer. Do I think Andy Dalton would’ve been a better second option? Absolutely. Regardless, McCarron is still a serviceable backup, but if Watson goes down (which I pray does not happen), then I might be saying something entirely different.
Overall, there isn’t much to complain about with the quarterback situation, but it wouldn’t hurt for the Houston Texans to pick up a 3rd QB before the season starts for injury assurance. Joe Webb is still available, along with other guys like Trevor Siemian and Blake Bortles. I doubt Cam Newton would want a backup job and I also doubt that he fits the O’Brien “tough smart dependable” mindset.