Deshaun Watson’s rise has been meteoric so far. In fact it rivals an NFL great. The Texans are crossing their fingers that that’s where the comparison ends
I know it’s an odd comparison but the way things are going I wonder if Deshaun Watson is going to become this generation’s Aaron Rodgers. There are a number of parallels starting to form, and it’s not really a compliment to either.
Watson and Rodgers were both famously passed over in their respective drafts with Watson lasting until pick 12 (ten spots after the Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky) and Rodgers lasting all the way down to the 24th spot. Both would leave teams regretting passing on them, other than Kansas City who are probably pretty happy with their selection in 2017.
If you compare their statistics over their first 3 full seasons as starters their numbers are comparable. Watson played in fewer games, but even with that added in they had similar yardage, TD, and completion percentage numbers. Factor in Rodgers having three years to apprentice and Watson learning as he played and you may even give Watson the edge over these first few seasons.
Both are dynamic players, capable of extending plays with their mobility. Watson is a much more dangerous runner than Rodgers ever was, but Rodgers had better weapons around him. Either player ensures that with a decent group around them you would contend for division titles and playoff runs.
Hopefully for Watson and the Texans that’s where the similarities end. It’s blasphemous to say this but Aaron Rodgers career has been a disappointment. Rodgers has led his team to the playoffs ten times, but only brought home one Lombardi trophy. Is that entirely Rodgers fault? Of course not, I mostly blame the Packers front office and coaching staff. Unfortunately if that’s the issue, I shudder to think of what’s in store for Watson down the line.
Rodgers is notoriously difficult to coach and coexist with. He makes his displeasure known and will vocally express himself in the media. Watson is by all accounts a beloved leader in the locker room and seems to have the respect of his teammates. This offseason however his frustration with Bill O’Brien began to show for the first time.
Now understand I don’t blame him for being frustrated. In fact I’d be concerned if he wasnt, but it tells you where he sees the teams outlook heading in the seasons ahead. The Texans have already squandered most of his rookie deal, and it won’t be any easier to build a contender when he’s costing them close to $40 million dollar per season.
The Packers always seemed to be missing something during Rodgers prime. Some years they had no running game, other years no pass rush, and in the playoffs against Colin Kaepernick they played an entire game with no defense. In the end you pitied Rodgers, and I don’t blame him for being such a negative presence. You might be too after all those years with Mike McCarthy.
So now the Texans find themselves looking down that same path. Will they always be a play or player short of being true contenders? Will they squander Deshaun Watson’s prime the way Green Bay wasted the most skilled quarterback of their generation. Am I the only one who sees a physical resemblance between Mike McCarthy and Bill O’Brien? These questions and more will be answered over the next few seasons, but as long as O’Brien is calling the shots the future looks murky at best.