Houston Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien announced prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season that veteran quarterback Tom Savage would be the starter while their 2017 first-round draft pick, former Clemson quarterback and National Champion, Deshaun Watson would use his time behind Savage to develop, adjust to the pace of the NFL and also learn the Texans’ system.
This past Sunday was just Week 1 and that plan changed. The Texans were shut out by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first half as Savage went 7-of-13 for 62 yards while being sacked six times. Watson entered the game at the start of the 3rd quarter and threw his first career touchdown on his first drive, which was a 4-yard pass to former Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Jacksonville defeated Houston 29-7 and Watson could be named the starter against the Cincinnati Bengals this Thursday. As of Monday morning, a final decision has not been made but things are looking more and more promising for the rookie.
“O’Brien said he made the decision to bench Savage because he was hoping to kick start the offense after it struggled to start the game.” – Reported by Sarah Barshop, ESPN Staff Writer
“If you’re willing to bench your starting quarterback one half into your first game, it means you picked the wrong guy to begin with, and you know it.” – Mark Maske, The Washington Post
“NFL offenses have become a lot more like college offenses in recent years. Spread principles have taken them over, and it seems good to have a QB like Watson who is a) mobile, and b) used to making snappy option reads and then delivering strikes.” – Reported by Alex Kirshner, sbnation.com
“It was all right,” Watson said. “It was a learning lesson, live and learn. First career NFL game, so there’s a lot to learn from. Watch the tape and move on.” – Reported by Aaron Wilson, The Houston Chronicle
“The decision to go with Deshaun … had more to do with, can we find a spark, could we find somebody that could maybe make a play, that could escape the pocket — things like that,” O’Brien said. – Reported by Sarah Barshop, ESPN Staff Writer
“Maybe he’s not good yet. But Savage definitely isn’t, and Watson’s a giant ball of football fun who’s going to win you lots of games someday. Let’s start now.” – Alex Kirshner, sbnation.com
“Watson’s superior mobility and the Texans’ substandard offensive line, which allowed a franchise record 10 sacks, are among the factors that would propel him into the starting lineup.” – Reported by Aaron Wilson, The Houston Chronicle
“At this point, the expectation is that the #Texans stick with rookie Deshaun Watson vs. the #Bengals. Still evaluating, but tough to go back.” – Tweeted by Ian Rapoport, NFL Network
“We’re going to see Deshaun Watson sooner than later. Savage looks awful. O-line isn’t helping him, either.” – Tweeted by Michael Fabiano, NFL Network and NFL.com
“A consensus All-American and national championship quarterback, Watson represents the Texans’ future. He may soon represent their present, too.” – Reported by Aaron Wilson, The Houston Chronicle