Nothing is certain with respect to Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s future on the football field. Preparing for a life without Watson going forward is something the Texans need to be considering.
What is happening with Deshaun Watson is not something that anyone could have seen coming. The legal issues he has found himself in the midst of are unprecedented. That, along with his trade request earlier this offseason, has put the future of the franchise in question.
Deshaun Watson’s off-the-field issues have put a halt on any trade talks, so any compensation that would have potentially come back in a deal will have to wait. This is kind of a double edged sword. Sure, trading away Watson is not the ideal outcome. Sending away a young, franchise quarterback in his prime is never in the blueprint for winning.
But, for a team that is staring a rebuild in the face, Deshaun Watson would return a premium package of picks. However, that will have to wait until things settle for him off the field, and a timeframe for that end is not certain.
While waiting on Deshaun Watson is not fun for fans, there are some things to look forward to this season. Winning a Super Bowl, or even making the playoffs is not something worth betting on. But, the recent changes in leadership will at the very least give a fresh look to the on-field product.
Houston Texans: Roster has been rebuilt this offseason
General Manager Nick Caserio has been very busy bringing in new players as he is trying to field a competitive roster. Despite not making any true long-term commitments, some of the names are worth tuning in to watch. All-Pro cornerback Desmond King, Pro-Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay, and three-time Super Bowl champion tackle Marcus Cannon are just a few of the players brought in by Caserio.
Along with the roster moves, the Texans are now led by first time head coach David Culley. Tim Kelly was retained as the offensive coordinator, but Culley brings with him Lovie Smith to run the defense. Smith has had a few opportunities as head coach in the past, including leading the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl appearance.
Even with retention of Kelly, it is likely that the Texans offense will look a bit different than when Deshaun Watson was running the show. Caserio has made a point to bring in veterans to help the offensive line. Plus, along with the addition of Lindsay, veteran running back Mark Ingram was signed to a one-year contract as well, giving the Texans a potential three-pronged attack.
Culley comes from a Baltimore Ravens team that had much success running the ball. Tyrod Taylor was also signed to at the very least be a reliable backup to Watson. Taylor may start for the Texans, and his running ability along with other offensive additions could see a bit of a copycat in philosophy on offense.
Where the biggest change is going to come is what the defense looks like. Not just due to the Texas sized hole J.J. Watt’s departure leaves either. Lovie Smith will be implementing the Tampa 2 defensive system that brought him success in the past. A much different system than the 3-4 base the Texans have run for years.
There will definitely be growing pains with new schemes being brought in, plus with so many new players. As mentioned, Caserio has done his best to this point to bring in players to try to plug into Smith’s system. Even with the expected hiccups, seeing something new will at least provide something for the fans to learn and look for.
This season will be rough. It is very likely that Deshaun Watson doesn’t play a down, and likely he never plays for the Houston Texans again. Along with that, what has been very well documented, the Texans do not have the draft capital that would be expected for a team finding themselves in a rebuilding scenario.
So, as a fan, you’ll just have to find silver linings where you can. The Texans as an organization have been patient with their coaching staff. Even with the terrible situation Culley was hired into, it is likely that he will be given time to figure things out. At least, if the trend with giving coaches time continues.
With the anticipation that this season will look like last season in terms of wins, there is at least comfort in the idea that Culley will be back. So the new look of the team won’t be short lived, and fans won’t have to learn new names or new systems too soon.
Patience. That will be the key to tuning into Texans games this season. Patience in knowing that there will be rough times ahead. Patience that the organization has a plan to figure things out. Though we know that last part may be tough with how the last regime has left things.
At the very least, you can be excited that football will eventually be back and you will get to cheer on the Texans.
How much cheering will there actually be? That’s still a mystery. Who knows what will happen, but at least there will be football, but it may be football without Deshaun Watson in 2021.