Houston’s Watson impresses in 2nd NFL start
HOUSTON (AP) — The Texans couldn’t close out their game against New England, but Houston is encouraged by the marked improvement of rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson in his second NFL start.
Watson threw for 301 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for 41 yards in Houston’s 36-33 loss to New England on Sunday.
“Each rep, each snap I take in practice, meetings on the game field is always a rep I try to get better at and try to get some experience,” he said. “Just continue that each and every week.”
Watson started the season backing up Tom Savage, but took over at halftime of Houston’s season opener when Savage struggled against the Jaguars.
The 12th overall pick in the draft has looked increasingly comfortable leading the offense as he’s gained more experience.
“He does a lot of things well for a young player,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s a very smart player. It would be hard for me to tell you he did this thing better than others. The key for Deshaun is now building on it.”
He’ll have a chance to do that on Sunday as the Texans (1-2) return to AFC South play when they host Tennessee (2-1) in the first of three straight home games.
O’Brien has been impressed with Watson’s ability to adjust quickly when problems arise and that he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
“His first two starts on the road, he’s played pretty well,” O’Brien said. “So now it’s, OK, what do I need to do to get ready for another really good team, obviously, and a new defense and a Dick LeBeau-designed defense — which is something he’s never seen before. So, he just needs to take each week as a new week and a new challenge.”
Watson is the most mobile quarterback the Texans have ever had, and his teammates rave about his ability to extend plays with his feet.
That skill was on display in Sunday’s game when he evaded four tackles before launching a 31-yard pass to D’Onta Foreman in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a guy that can create plays,” Foreman said. “I’ve seen him step out of three, four tackles and still get the ball off. To me that’s amazing just to be a rookie and be able to step in and throw like that. It’s been fun playing with him.”
Another impressive quality about the 22-year-old quarterback has been the confidence he’s shown since the moment he stepped on the field in the third quarter of Houston’s opener.
He continued to show the same unflappable nature that was on display last season when he led Clemson to a national title.
“His poise is wonderful,” said Foreman, a fellow rookie. “I never can tell if he’s nervous or not. He just goes out there and plays hard every down. So I definitely respect that.”
Watson said he’s been confident all his life and that he isn’t going to change simply because he’s now playing against the best football players in the world.
“You can’t have (any) doubt when you step on the field at this level,” he said.
This week he and the Texans could get a boost with the possible return of speedy receiver Will Fuller. The second-year player, who was a first-round draft pick, has missed the first three games after breaking his collarbone early in training camp.
“I think that’ll be something that we’ll see starting on Wednesday, but I’m hearing some good things,” O’Brien said.