When the Houston Texans drafted Deshaun Watson 12th overall in April, many analysts wondered if the former Clemson star would start as a rookie. While anything could happen, it doesn’t appear that Watson will begin the season atop the depth chart.
“It seems like the Texans are really taking their time with Deshaun Watson,” former NFL defensive tackle and current SportsRadio 610 Houston host Seth Payne said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “There really is no hurry to push him out there. They and the Chiefs are one of only a couple teams in the last decade or so that have drafted a quarterback in the first round after having a successful playoff season a year before, so with that defense, they’re taking their time. But Tom Savage hadn’t really asserted himself in the preseason.”
At least not until Saturday’s preseason win over the Patriots. Savage went 8-of-9 for 98 yards and a touchdown in the 27-23 win, while Watson went 3-of-10 for 102 yards.
“(Savage) had a performance Saturday night were you could say, ‘Okay, they’re out there versus the Patriots starters, he’s moving the ball efficiently, he placed the ball well – he looked like he belongs,’” Payne said. “Deshaun Watson still looks like a rookie in a lot of respects, which is to be expected. I think Tom Savage, at least for the very first few games of the season, is – I don’t know if entrenched is the right word, but maybe temporarily entrenched.”
Whatever happens, it won’t tear apart the Texans locker room.
“This is probably the most cordial quarterback competition I’ve ever seen,” Payne said. “Deshaun Watson really understands what his role is right now, and that’s to be a team player and to be as good as he possibly can be. The big difference obviously is the athleticism with Deshaun Watson. When he’s rolling out on boots, when you see him pull the ball down and run it, he does stuff that Tom Savage simply can’t do. Tom Savage has a better arm. It’s more accurate, it’s stronger – it’s just a matter of how quickly he gets rid of the ball and how efficient he can be with it.”
Houston opens the season at home against Jacksonville on Sept. 10. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.