When it comes to the evaluation of opposing football teams (beyond the simply advanced scouting that is commonly done), there is an old-fashioned and bull-headed notion that goes something like this:
"We don't care what they do. We only care what we do.''
It's a bumper-sticker. A meme. Something for Grandma to stitch on a pillow.
But it's not smart. And for teams that are smart, it's not true.
And that's why the Washington Football Team is keenly aware of what's going on with Deshaun Watson.
We have no doubt that Watson is preparing to play NFL football in 2021, even if he does nothing at all in this Houston Texans training camp - a camp at which he will be in attendance, in large part to avoid $50,000 daily fines as he awaits rulings on his legal issues ...
And as he awaits a trade, maybe to the Philadelphia Eagles.
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And that's a reason for the WFT to care. Because Watson in green represents a real threat to the balance of power in the NFC East.
We have written often at SI that the Eagles are among the teams that have expressed interest in a Watson trade ever since he made it clear he wanted out of Houston. That desire has obviously waned with the legal issues. But the desire remains at some level.
In fact, Eagles insider Howard Eskin on SportsRadio 94WIP Midday Show actually puts a number on it."I’ve talked to people in Houston,'' Eskin reports. "And they are all but resigned to the fact that they’re going to have to trade him. ... There’s only three teams, in talking to people around the league, that I know of, that really have the strong desire. That would be Denver, Miami ... (and) the Eagles have the three first-round picks, and that’s what they’re gonna have, and this is the prediction I’m going to make: based on the information that I got, when — and I’ll say WHEN — he is traded, I think there is a 90% chance that he will be with the Philadelphia Eagles.''
The pieces that would've brought Watson to Washington never quite fit, at least not in the mind of coach Ron Rivera, maybe for two reasons: One, the price was going to be high, and two, possibly, Watson's alleged behavioral issues - which fly in the face of his long-standing reputation as a classy leader - might've made his "chemistry mix'' here a dangerous one.
But in Philly? As we've said often, the pieces do fit. A “90% chance” Watson is going to end up in Philly?We're hesitant to actually put odds on it. But the process begins with Watson continuing to ready himself to play ... and showing up for camp ready to avoid being fined.
And therefore, in Washington? As it stands right now, the NFC East likely seems a two-team race. If the WFT can handle the Dallas Cowboys, it can probably win the division again. But Watson in the division? That's another threat. That's another tough-to-handle foe. That's another reason to be aware - and to be wary.
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