Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson brings potential Super Bowl aspirations

May 23, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws the ball during OTA practices at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws the ball during OTA practices at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Deshaun Watson has yet to take a snap for the Houston Texans, but his presence is enough for one coach to believe that “Houston just won a Super Bowl.”

Dabo Swinney, head coach of the Clemson Tigers, is fresh off a National Championship victory and fresh off a season in which his former player, Deshaun Watson, looked unbeatable. Watson, now with the Houston Texans, turned his march down the field to beat Alabama into massive draft value with the Texans picking him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft — and trading away a 2018 first-rounder to do it.

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It will all be worth it if Watson can give the Texans everything they need at the game’s most important position. Quarterback is the only true question on a roster that is already playoff-caliber, but can’t do enough to get to the Super Bowl. Watson may be enough to do it, though.

In talking about Watson, Swinney makes it clear that he thinks the Texans have the right player on the roster to make the jump, saying (per CBS Houston):

"I think Houston just won a Super Bowl. I don’t know if it’s this year, next year or the next, but it’s coming. You can’t measure what he has."

That quote made its rounds back in April after Watson’s selection by the Texans made everything seem better in the eyes of the fans. But it may not be enough, at least at this stage. With the Texans still infatuated with Tom Savage as a starter, Watson’s time has not yet come and may not come for some time.

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And with that, the Super Bowl is pushed further and further back.

The Texans will inevitably gravitate toward Watson because he is the future at the position (any player with two first-round picks invested in him is the inevitable future), but the team is not making haste to anoint him as the starter. As Jay Pendergast puts it for the Houston Press in his article titled “After burning $37 million on Osweiler, Texans set low bar for QBs,” the Texans are confused as to how to proceed. They are being too cautious.

Pendergast has an excellent nugget embedded in that article:

"However, in Houston, where the quarterback position has been a black hole of football death since 2013, Savage’s status as last man standing in a three-year battle royal of ineptitude in which the participants have been tossing themselves over the top rope has been enough for him to attain “unquestioned starter” status for the Texans heading into 2017."

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Somehow, someway, Savage’s ability to stick with the Texans is enough for him to move ahead of the potential that Watson offers. It’s enough for him to be the front many at a position that teams absolutely have to find a competent player for or risk hitting a first-round playoff ceiling that even a top-ranked defense can’t crack.

All of the good news surrounding Watson hasn’t been enough, apparently, to convince the Texans that the right guy is actually on the roster already. While Watson continues to impress, we’re continually reminded by head coach Bill O’Brien that he is a rookie and that “he’s not nearly where he needs to be to be a full-time starter,” per the Houston Chronicle.

These qualifiers are something that NFL observers, including this writer, are growing tired of already. If Watson does in fact give a team Super Bowl potential, he deserves every shot to make it. He does not deserve to sit behind a player that lucked into surviving a “battle royal of ineptitude”, a la Haymitch Abernathy in the 50th Hunger Games.

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While it is still the offseason and things may change when the pads go on, the Texans appear willing to sit on Watson a little while longer. For fans hungry for a Super Bowl and with the window open, this may not be good enough.