Texans: No plans to rein in Watson

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns in seven games.Photo Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

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Deshaun Watson continues to make progress from a knee injury that ended his rookie season with the Houston Texans.

The second-year quarterback has looked sharp during organized team activities and, according to the Houston Chronicle, the only noticeable sign that his knee was surgically repair is the brace that he’s wearing.

Watson provided an electrifying spark to the offense before he was injured. The Texans scored at least 33 points in each of his last five starts before he sustained the knee injury during practice on Nov. 2.

While Houston obviously wants to be careful with its emerging star, the question is whether the team will attempt to curtail Watson’s running in order to protect his knee. Watson also suffered a torn ACL as a freshman at Clemson.

“That’s always something that we talk about, moving when you have to, extend plays when you have to,” Texans quarterback coach Sean Ryan told the Chronicle. “Being smart though with that, that’s been something we’ve talked to him with about since Day 1, really. Understand when the journey is over. When it’s over, it’s time to get down and protect yourself, protect your team.”

Prior to the injury, Watson was amassed 1,699 yards passing and 19 touchdowns in seven games, adding 269 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 36 carries.

The dual-threat aspect of his game and the explosive element it creates in Houston’s offense is one the team does not want to curtail. Watson insisted in April that he will not be afraid to bolt the pocket.

“You really have to never suffocate what the guy can do,” said Ryan. “You never want to take that away, his instincts, his ability to make plays. You just want to make sure that you’re hitting the points with him of understanding when it’s smart to do those things and when it’s not.

“With a guy like him, one of the great things is you can talk to him about, ‘What do you think you need to improve on? What is it that you’d like to leave this spring with that’s saying, ‘Hey, I got better at this.’ I don’t know if you’d say it’s hard, but it’s always challenging. But it’s fun. It’s good.”

Houston head coach Bill O’Brien, who doubles as the team’s offensive coordinator, also wants to maximize Watson’s talents. The Texans averaged 40.5 points in his last four starts, a span in which Watson had 16 scoring passes.

“It’s a lot of fun to coach a guy like Deshaun, it really is,” said O’Brien. “Just him personally, he’s a very smart guy. He loves football, so every day he comes in willing to learn. Just really kind of soaks up the knowledge but then he has his own ideas, his own creativity on what he sees on different packages that we do, which we really enjoy talking about those things.

“When you have a guy like Deshaun, you can be creative because of his skillset. So, it’s been a good spring.”