Dynamic plays were the calling card for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson during his brief time as starter. Making excellent decisions with his arm as well as his legs to lead Houston down the field to score. Unfortunately his season was cut short due to an ACL tear suffered in practice. The quarterback is the most important position on a football team. For Houston it may apply even more so than others. It is clear that Watson is what makes the Houston offense move. Without Watson the offense stalls. That is why when Watson comes out and states he will not change how he plays that it may become an issue. Without Watson the Texans offense simply does not work.
In some ways this may give some flashbacks of Robert Griffin III. The now Ravens quarterback suffered a knee injury in 2012 that may have completely altered the trajectory of his career and the Redskins franchise. Griffin proceeded to return in 2013 playing a similar style but failed to replicate the results from his sensational rookie campaign. The concern with Watson is that he too could suffer a similar fate. This is not Watson’s first ACL injury, in fact it is his second. Watson tore his ACL during his freshman year at Clemson. Knee injuries are nothing new to Watson and considering his second was of the non-contact variety, there is a reason to be concerned.
Confidence is a great trait in a quarterback and to see Watson is confident in himself is a good thing. However a quarterback who knows how to avoid an unnecessary injury is also a good thing. Peyton Manning would famously fall in the pocket to avoid a big hit. Manning knew that nothing positive would come out of a big hit in the pocket. This sense of survival allowed Manning to have a long and successful career. It might be wise for Watson to take a similar approach.
It is entirely possible that Watson is making this statement as a ploy of sorts. A mobile quarterback should not go out and say that he will no longer use his legs. It would allow opposing defenses to adjust accordingly and not worry about Watson’s legs. By saying that he will not change the way that he plays it keeps defenses on their toes and must accommodate for the Texans signal caller to make plays outside the pocket. If this is about mind games then kudos to Watson for playing them months before the regular season.
What it comes down to is Watson avoiding unnecessary hits. The Texans do not need another season featuring a quarterback carousel. In the end Watson may still make plays with his legs, but it is entirely possible that he is more selective than before. This would be a wise decision that not only benefits Watson, but the future of the Texans franchise.