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Culture / Sporting Life

Deshaun Watson Needs to Start and the Entire NFL Knows It

Jaguars Call Out Bill O’Brien for Tom Savage Madness

BY // 09.10.17

DeAndre Hopkins cuts across, side stepping through the media horde leaving a rapidly departing locker room, and heads right for Deshaun Watson. The highest-paid receiver in the NFL and the young quarterback who should be the Houston Texans starter, will huddle in a near empty locker room.

It’s a scene that offers a bit of hope in the wake of the Texans’ deflating 29-7 season-opening dud of a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. For if Bill O’Brien’s team is going to rebound and live up to that challenge the Patriots talk, it largely depends on Watson and Hopkins’ ability to make something out of this hamstrung offense.

Of course, Watson must be given the starting quarterback job — and it needs to begin on Thursday night in Cincinnati for the ultra-quick national TV turnaround. (Sorry, no Tony Romo in the booth for this one.)

Deshaun Watson is infinitely better at quarterback than Tom Savage — and everyone around the NFL seems to know it too. O’Brien, who is actually an excellent coach whenever he’s not going up against his best friend Doug Marrone, needs to accept this reality.

“Come on man,” Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey sniffs when asked about the Texans’ in-game QB switch. “Deshaun should have been starting the whole time. Come on now.”

Ramsey may want to be the next Deion Sanders. But he’s not lying.

Yes, the Texans offensive line is horrible without Duane Brown. But Tom Savage still looked shakier than Derrick Rose on SAT day.

Watson completed four passes to Hopkins on his first drive alone. That’s four times more passes than Savage could complete to the Texans’ best receiver in the entire first half. This quarterback choice should take about as much wrestling as deciding if you’d rather go to Taco Tuesday or federal prison.

Deshaun Watson gives this hindered offense some hope. He doesn’t turn defensive pressure into fumble touchdowns for the other team. He often sidesteps it and scrambles away for a nice gain. Watson just has a little bit of magic about him. This is a trait that’s hard to define, but easy to see on the field.

Even when Watson does something wrong, like throw an interception, it often gets wiped away by a Jacksonville penalty. Teammates want to play with this guy.

After Watson punctuates his first drive with a 4-yard touchdown toss to Hopkins off a sweet play-action fake, J.J. Watt is one of the first Texans to rush over and slap Watson on the helmet. This rookie already holds the respect of the veterans.

Yes, the Texans offensive line is horrible without Duane Brown. But Tom Savage still looked shakier than Derrick Rose on SAT day.

The quarterback who slayed Alabama didn’t go into the Texans huddle for the first time, breathing fire or spraying off some inspirational talk. That stuff is for the movies. This is real life. And Watson is as cool as they come in real life.

“It’s not about that,” Texans right guard Jeff Allen tells PaperCity  when asked if Watson had anything to say when he entered the huddle to start the second half. “It’s about finding a spark, and a guy who can get something going.”

No, Watson couldn’t rescue the Texans from the horrible hole that Savage dumped them into on this Sunday. Savage’s 56.9 first quarter quarterback rating doesn’t even begin to illustrate just how bad he played. But the quarterback of the Texans future gives them a much better chance in the present too.

The future needs to start next week.

There is absolutely no need to see anymore of Tom Savage. This good guy, and better husband, is simply overmatched as an NFL quarterback. Even the Houston Chronicle, which fawned over Savage and all but portrayed him as a young Joe Montana, was smart enough to run its big Savage back story feature before the season’s first game.

It stayed relevant for about 30 minutes of actual football.

The Texans didn’t get sacked an incredible 10 times on the first Sunday of the NFL season just because Savage holds the ball longer than a 3-year-old takes to pick out the perfect toy at Target. The Texans’ hyped up defense didn’t give up a touchdown right after Watson gave them a glimmer of hope with a long touchdown drive because of Savage.

But it’s no stretch to say that Savage and the offense’s absolute ineptitude early dragged the whole team down. These Texans simply can’t afford that — and it has nothing to do with the boo birds that emerged for the first time with nearly 14 minutes left in the second quarter, pushing aside all those feel-good Hurricane Harvey pregame feelings.

“I’ve been here for four years, I’ve seen it happen,” Savage says at his locker about getting pulled from the game by O’Brien. “I’ve seen how this works and it just is what it is.”

In truth, O’Brien would have been justified in yanking Savage earlier. That is how ineffective he was. The Texans just need a better quarterback. They just need Watson. That’s what it is.

Deshaun Watson instantly makes Jerry Jones’ Texans nightmare come true.

Watson is not congratulating himself about a 12 for 23, 102-yard, one touchdown and one interception half. This is 21-year-old who starred in two of the greatest national championship games of all time. He knows he can do much more.

““It was alright,” Watson says of his first NFL action, as cool as ever. “It was a learning lesson. Live and learn. First career NFL game, so there is a lot to learn from. Watch the tape and move on.”

O’Brien’s Easiest Call?

O’Brien can hem and haw, and act indecisive all week to keep the Bengals off guard if he wants. But on Thursday night, the choice must be clear. The Texans coach can wait no longer. The Texans’ Savior in Wait is your now player.

And everyone seems to know the real score.

“He did some good things in his first NFL start,” Hopkins says of a fellow Clemson product. “Him and I have some things we need to work on to improve, but I think we did some good things out there.”

Moments later, Hopkins makes that beeline for Watson’s locker. The locker room is starting to resemble South Beach in Hurricane Irma evacuation mode, but there’s no time like the present. Might as well start the learning now.

Home, chic home.

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