Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson already adjusting to NFL speed

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Deshaun Watson
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Deshaun Watson /

For Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, adjusting to game speed at the professional level is something to take one day at a time.

While Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson enters training camp as a National Champion with the Clemson Tigers, he still has a lot of work to do. There’s a reason that Tom Savage is a formidable hurdle on Watson’s way to becoming an NFL starter.

The NFL concentrates the impressive talent at the collegiate ranks. Every player in the NFL is fast, big and strong. Every player is a standout. While some go onto greatness, even the average NFL player who can last more than a couple years is going to be better than a collegiate counterpart.

For a defense as stacked as that of the Texans, that’s especially true. There are no slouches on the NFL’s best defensive unit. Watson has to adjust to NFL speed among the NFL’s best to prove he is worthy of being the starting quarterback.

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While head coach Bill O’Brien thinks Watson is a “good, smart guy who works hard,” there’s more to the NFL than just that. Being able to keep up is something that can take time to happen. In that regard, veteran quarterback — and limited-use starter — Savage has an edge.

Writes Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today regarding a recent red zone training camp drill:

"This was the first action that resembled NFL game speed for rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.“That was fast,” Watson said later in a press conference when asked what his biggest surprise has been. “Things were moving.”"

It’s no shock that NFL speed is going to take some time to adjust to. That may happen in training camp or may happen in the preseason or, as many suspect (including this writer), it will happen at some point in the season. There are no guarantees in the NFL and no sure things, but Watson is putting in the right amount of work to at least warrant a look.

Assuming that the hard work and maturity that made him a valuable first round choice continues (and there is no reason it won’t), expect Watson to get better one step at a time and day by day. NFL speed is not something he can’t adjust to. Other players can do it, and so can he.

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For now, though, Savage may still have the edge. It’s tough to extrapolate too much from early training camp returns, but no news is good news for Savage as he quietly hones his craft with the spotlight on Watson’s small steps forward every day.