The Houston Texans were confident that Deshaun Watson could be an NFL quarterback – they wouldn’t have drafted him in the first round if they didn’t – but even they had to be pleasantly surprised by Watson’s performance this past Sunday.
Watson threw for 283 yards and finished with five touchdowns (four pass, one rush) in leading Houston (2-2) to a 57-14 blowout win against Tennessee.
It’s only one game, sure, but Houston is thrilled with its rookie quarterback.
“Obviously he’s a big-time talent,” Texans defensive back Kareem Jackson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The way he performed in college at such a high level for multiple years until now, the way he leads, the way he carries himself off the field in the locker room, just kind of talking to his guys, him and DeAndre (Hopkins) getting on the same page, you can just kind of see how he’s carrying himself on the practice field and leading his offense. We think he’s going to be a great player for a long time. For me, I’m happy to be able to watch him progress week in and week out.”
Jackson loves Watson now, but he didn’t love him in January, when Watson led Clemson to a 35-31 win over Alabama in the national championship. Jackson starred at Alabama from 2007-09 and helped the Tide to the 2009 BCS national title.
“That might have been the only time I rooted against him,” Jackson said of that January night, laughing, “but I’m definitely, definitely glad he’s on my team now.”
As exciting as Watson has been, though, the Texans are trying to stay focused on the task at hand: beating the undefeated Chiefs (4-0) on Sunday Night Football.
The Texans didn’t get too low after their Week 1 loss to Jacksonville – a game in which Watson and Tom Savage were sacked a combined 10 times – and they aren’t getting too high after a 43-point beatdown against Tennessee.
“You’re going to face some adversity at times, and that first game was definitely a reality check for us,” Jackson said. “It kind of let us know that we still got to go out and we got to put the work in. Even with all the expectations that people might have for you, you got to go out and you got to put the work in week in and week out and keep everybody all on one page. That’s something that has to happen, I feel, in the locker room. I think we have a great group of guys that can definitely get that done.”
The Texans will go as far as their defense takes them this season, but Brandon Tierney, for one, is a little worried about J.J. Watt. The three-time NFL Player of the Year was limited to three games in 2016 due to back surgery and doesn’t have a sack through four games in 2017.
Is Watt okay?
“He’s looking pretty good,” Jackson said. “Going back and watching the film, he’s making some big-time pays, in my opinion. Tackles for losses, he’s always done that. It’ll aways be tough for him to get sacks just because a lot of times, he’s going to draw a lot of the attention. He’s getting chipped by running backs, a lot of times they may slide a protection to him – just little things like that to keep him away from the quarterback. But at the same time, it’ll help us as a defense and it’ll free some other guys up like Jadeveon (Clowney) and Whitney Mercilus. We have some other guys in the middle that’s playing at a high level as well. But from what I can see, he looks healthy and he’s doing some good stuff.”