WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- It's been only three weeks, but Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has seen what a difference training camp has meant to his progress in the offensive system.
The first-round draft choice said that while he had a grasp of the offense during the Texans’ organized team activities, he feels like he has taken a huge step forward during these three weeks in West Virginia and can now "control the offense."
"Honestly, in the spring I knew what I was doing, but at the same time my head was swimming," Watson said. "But whenever I step on the field today, I can go out there and control the offense and do what they ask me to do and make good decisions, fast. I'm just trying to improve in all areas and continue to do that."
Watson impressed in his NFL debut in the Texans’ preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, going 15-of-25 for 179 passing yards and adding a rushing touchdown.
The next day, Texans coach Bill O'Brien said he thought Watson was correct about the offensive scheme about half the time, which he said is "to be expected with a rookie." The head coach previously had said the toughest part for Watson in his transition from college to the NFL would be learning the Texans' complex playbook and offensive scheme.
Right now, Tom Savage is the Texans starter, but both quarterbacks have impressed during training camp. Houston wrapped up two days of joint practices with the New England Patriots on Wednesday, and O'Brien thought both Savage and Watson handled playing against a new scheme and new players well, saying, "The quarterbacks had a good two days here."
Watson agreed that he had a successful two days and "made good decisions, quick decisions, and did the basic fundamentals" well.
It remains to be seen who will start Week 1, but O'Brien stressed the importance of making sure Watson is named the starting quarterback at the right time. Watson said he's not sure there's a magic formula to knowing when he's ready to start, but he'll be ready when it happens.
"It's one of those things where it just kind of clicks and everyone sees it," Watson said. "I'll feel it, Coach OB [O'Brien] will feel it. But right now I'm just being patient, taking it one day at a time, learning as much as I can."