That didn't change, even after the Texans traded two first-round picks to move up and draft Deshaun Watson. That night, O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith said Savage is the starter, and Watson would have to earn the job.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for Watson to win the job in the near future. O’Brien said he has already given the former Clemson star an outline of what he will have to do to one day lead the Texans under center.
“Show up every day and get better. Simple as that,” O’Brien said. “Every single day, improve on the things that you need to improve on. There’s always going to be something, whether it’s a playcall or footwork or some type of decision at the line of scrimmage, that maybe you made a mistake on the day before or answered a question wrong in the meeting or whatever it is, let’s fix that.
“Let’s get better every single day. It’s a progress league. It’s about improvement every single day.”
Watson began his first set of NFL workouts last week during the Texans’ rookie minicamp and he will be joined soon by the rest of his teammates for OTAs.
After the Texans drafted Watson with the No. 12 pick, the coaching staff started teaching him the basics of O’Brien’s playbook: how to huddle, where to go in the huddle and the verbiage of the playcalls. O’Brien described learning the terminology of a new system, especially while transitioning from college to the NFL, like learning another language, saying it’s just something that takes time and repetition.
And while Watson will learn a great deal from the coaching staff, O’Brien said being around Savage and veteran Brandon Weeden this week and seeing them actually running the plays he is learning will help immensely as well.
Watson said that although he spent two and a half seasons as the starter at Clemson, he still kept a competitive mindset -- something he wants to maintain heading into his first set of offseason workouts.
“Of course, I was a starter at Clemson the past three years, but each and every day I would go into the day thinking I’m not the starter and I could lose my job, so for me that’s natural,” Watson said. “I’m a competitor. I’m going to compete each and every day to get better. Everyone else around me is getting better, so that’s how my mentality has been, is competing and trying to find a way to get better.”