Former Clemson starting quarterback Deshaun Watson is beginning to turn heads and catch the attention of the coaching staff on his new team, the Houston Texans.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said that while current Texan quarterback Tom Savage was still the starter for the team, the former Tiger signal-caller had been “impressive.”
“Deshaun has come in and been impressive,” O’Brien said of the Texans 12th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. “He’s come in here and done a really good job of putting the time in, learning the basics of our offense and going out on the field.”
The biggest thing that Watson is having to learn is the speed of the game.
Just as college is a jump in terms of the speed of the players on the field, the NFL is the ultimate test—especially as offenses get closer to the goal line and things get compacted.
“He’s gotten better every day,” O’Brien said. “I think the hard part about this week is there’s more snaps in the red zone where things happen a lot faster down there. That’s always something that takes a rookie quarterback the longest to learn—how fast things happen down there.”
With the hopes of an entire fanbase clearly on the shoulders of the rookie quarterback, Watson has yet to unseat the Texans quarterback Tom Savage from his role as the starting quarterback.
However, O’Brien is not looking for Watson to make the jump from a rookie to a starting quarterback quite yet. All he is looking for is that Watson continues to get better each and every day.
“I think the big thing for him is he just needs to keep trying to get better every day,” O’Brien said. “It’s not easy to be a rookie quarterback in this league. I think he’s really come in here and put his head down and gone to work. We’ve all noticed that and looking forward to watching him improve every single day.”
While Watson has impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic and dedication, for one member of the Texans knowing the type of player that Watson is comes as no surprise, because he witnessed it.
Former Clemson defensive lineman and current Houston Texan D.J. Reader played with Watson for two seasons (2014, 2015) and witnessed the way that Watson worked firsthand.
“He’s a great guy, a great quarterback, a hard-worker and it’s great to see him out here having fun and doing something that he loves at a high-level,” Reader said. “I’m excited to see what he can do. I’ve seen him grow a lot. I was there when he was a freshman and he just came in, put his head down and went to work. That’s him all the way. That’s what Deshaun does. He’s a worker.”
It is that work-ethic that is already paying dividends with his teammates.
“Deshaun is a hard-working guy. He’s been impressive in the meeting room. I think his teammates have a lot of respect for him right away,” O’Brien said.