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Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:09AM

FROM DOWNTOWN: Told you, Deshaun Watson is an NFL starter

By Katie B. Davis Sports Director

If you’ve ever watched sports with friends, or strangers for that matter, you’ve seen this scene play out: a nudge of a neighbor’s arm followed by a grin or head nod, but most definitely a point to a television screen, and the words, “told you.”

Now, the “told you” part, is your friend getting his or her hot take confirmed.

“Told you the Chiefs would beat the Patriots,” said that one Falcons fan still trying to exorcise the Super Bowl demons when nobody else thought Tommy Boy would lose at all this season, least of all in Game 1 to Alex Smith and Co.

Sitting at Riggy’s Grill on Browns Bridge Road on Sunday, I’ll admit I had a moment of “told-you” gesticulation and vocal bravado.

Watching the first half of the Houston Texans game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there were more head shakes than anything at the uselessness of the Texans offensive line. The inability of Houston to block was made worse by starting quarterback Tom Savage’s immobility and lack of pocket awareness.

I said aloud to nobody in particular, and I tweeted (@ktbdavis is the handle #shamelesspromo), that the Texans could benefit from having someone in their offensive arsenal who could escape the incessant Jaguars pressure, and that luckily for the team, someone who fit that description was No. 2 quarterback Deshaun Watson.

You should know Watson also happens to be an alumnus of my high school alma mater and someone I think the world of as a human being, so of course I believe he should get a chance where most other rookies wouldn’t. Some call that being wholly nonobjective. I digress.

At halftime, Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien made a change at QB, and in came a young man who doesn’t know “being brought along.” He started the first game of his high school career, the fourth game of his college career (and broke the single-game passing touchdown record) and now was coming in at halftime of his first pro game in less-than-ideal circumstances, trailing 19-0.

And I’ll be darned if the offense didn’t come alive, scoring the Texans’ first touchdown of the year on Watson’s first drive. He was able to evade would-be tacklers and extend plays, while showing the ability to throw accurately on the run.

It should be noted that it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. The Texans still lost badly, and Watson did what most rookies do — he stared down receivers and got the yips on a couple of passes. He tossed one interception and it probably should have been two if not for a defensive penalty.

But still, I lightly nudged my neighbor, grinned slyly, sat back in my bar seat, pointed toward the television and said, “told you.”

It's being reported by the likes of NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that tonight, Deshaun Watson will be the starting quarterback in just the second game of his NFL career.

If you’re hoping for the hot take, this is as fiery as I’m going to get: Watson, while I think he hung the moon, is still a rookie quarterback at the sport’s highest level and will, as a result, experience more disappointments than successes. He will make errant reads, he will call wrong audibles and more than likely, he’s going to throw nasty interceptions to go with some wounded ducks.

However, he will also be the mobile quarterback a team with a paltry line needs and will make miracles happen once or twice as a result. Throw in his work ethic with his natural gifts, and Watson’s a player who is going to progress and thrive, whether it’s in Year 1 or Year 3. Even more than that though, he’ll lead the face-of-a-franchise charge because he won’t change from the humble and kind human he is, despite his progress in play.

He’s been a champion at every level, no reason to think he won’t be now.

When he does all of it, nudge your neighbor, grin, point to the television screen and say, “told you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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