When it comes to sports, hot takes and opinions are always available, but only statistics can hush a crowd.
Last season in the NFL during the first of the season, weeks 1-8, there was one player who led the NFL in offensive touchdowns (21), Total QBR (82), and scramble yards (188). Let’s call him player X, What if I told you that player was also a rookie last year and wasn’t even the starter in the season opener? Shocking I know.
Before the devils’ advocates of the world question why there are only stats for the first half of the season, of course, its because player X got hurt and missed the rest of the season. Now we see injuries all the time in the NFL, and the most common one seems to be torn ACL’s. So if I told you player X tore his ACL, would you think his second-year stats will drop off drastically?
“OOPS, he’s a star quarterback right now” –
That’s the exact question the Houston Texans organization has been contemplating since last fall. The Texans went from having a good young backup quarterback who will hopefully take over the reigns one day to “OOPS, he’s a star quarterback right now”, and then to seeing him suffer a season-ending injury. So now Houston is faced with the challenge of bringing their mobile quarterback back to the huddle without rushing him while at the same time needing to rush him if they want to take full opportunity of the J.J Watt dominance window. How does Houston do this?
Well, I shared my stats let me share my opinion.
Firstly, cut out any called quarterback runs. If player X, who I can safely and unsurprisingly reveal as Deshaun Watson, chooses to pull the ball down and scramble, fine. Bill O’ Brien calling a quarterback designed run, not fine. Secondly, the offensive line coach needs to work harder than he ever has. This offensive line unit has GOT to protect this star quarterback if they want any chance of success this season. Watson needs time to look downfield, and Houston shouldn’t rely on Watson’s running threat as much as they did last year. Why? Because nobody knows if this second ACL tear is going to affect his running and cutting ability. Watson has proven he’s a commodity that’s not worth risking. So Houston, don’t risk it his first year back.
I understand J.J. Watt seemingly doesn’t have that many more years of health left in the NFL. And yes the Jaguars look like a pro bowl team some weeks, but it would be in the best interest for the Texans to not rush Watson back to doing what he did last year. It’s a new year. Teams have ample tape on him now and know he’s coming off a knee injury. Admit it or not, defenses would love to end a star quarterbacks season, just ask RGIII.