Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson returned to the field after rehabbing the torn ACL in his right knee for nine months. Watson was welcomed with open arms by his coaching staff and teammates when training camp opened up at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
Going into the 2018 season in a much different position than his rookie season, Watson is coming in with the knowledge that he is the clear-cut starter for the Texans. Despite a new role heading into training camp, Watson has not changed how he prepares to play the game.
“No, honestly it’s the same mentality that I had last year," Watson explained. “Regardless, I knew Tom (Savage) was the guy going into camp last year, I still prepared myself like I was a starter.”
Being the lead quarterback doesn’t give Watson time to relax. He knows that every rep on the field with the offense counts as they prepare for the upcoming season.
“Each and every day, every rep I got, I took full advantage of it and I’m doing the same thing here,” Watson continued. “Even though I’m the first quarterback to step on the field, that doesn’t make me bigger than all the other guys that are coming on behind me. I just kind of continue to take each rep, one play at a time, try to get one percent and just perfect my job, perfect my craft, and make sure everyone else around me is getting better.”
There is plenty of discussion on how Watson’s knee is holding up and it is clear that it is not an issue for him running through individual, group, and team drills to start training camp.
“It felt normal. It felt natural. It didn’t really bother me at all,” Watson said of his knee. “I didn’t really think twice about it. I’m just kind of going out there and performing, playing, and practicing. Trying to get better.”
Head coach Bill O’Brien has seen a change in Watson on the field and that starts with how hard Watson works on his game off the field in the film room.
“He’s put a lot of time in. He’s in there early, he studies on his own, he watches a lot of tape on his own and he studies the playbook on his own,” O’Brien said of Watson. “You have to. If you want to be successful in this league at quarterback, you have to be obsessed with football. I mean, there’s just no other way to be successful. If you’re not obsessed with football as a quarterback in this league, then you really have no chance, and so that’s what he is. He has a passion for the game, he loves to learn, he tries to get better every day and that’s just who he is.”
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