2017 Grade: .416
2017 3rd Down: .347
Week 1 vs. Jacksonville: Watson clearly wasn’t ready to play, evident by a number of things. The playbook is extremely handicapped with Watson in the game. Half-field reads, bootlegs, this was essentially a pre-season game plan once Tom Savage was knocked out of the game. The same woes that Watson had at Clemson showed up in his debut. Throws to the perimeter are anyone’s guess as to where it will go – sailed or short hop, there’s no telling.
Week 2 at Cincinnati: The primary take away from this game is that DeShaun Watson still isn’t ready to play. It’s not an easy trait, but he really struggles keeping his eyes downfield in the face of the rush. He is a one-read-and-go type of quarterback at this point, who struggles with accuracy and to process things quickly. His big run was a game changer and he found some rhythm once he started force feeding DeAndre Hopkins, but he has a long way to go.
Week 3 at New England: In what was easily the best game of his young career, DeShaun Watson capitalized when the Patriots went to their two-man package (cover two, man underneath.) He exploited that defense with some scrambles, extending drives in some cases. He made the play of the weekend (GIF below) avoiding a number of sacks before throwing back across to the other side of the field. He’s a master of evading pressure, but the accuracy concerns (GIF number 2) remain ever present. He missed a third down throw mid-way through the fourth quarter that would’ve kept the Texans offense on the field, with a two-point lead. This is a good tape to build off of, but there’s still a long way to go as a passer.
Week 4 at Houston: Scouts may have sold DeShaun Watson’s ability to extend plays a tad short. The last two games have been very Russell Wilson-esque in terms of manipulating the pocket and finding vacated areas to throw from. His accuracy has improved the last two games but, even more impressively, so has his ability to see what the defense is giving him. The GIF below displays great patience to allow the route to develop and anticipate it coming open. The Texans have to be very encouraged about what they’ve seen the last two weeks.
Week 5 vs. Kansas City: The three-point dime for a touchdown to Will Fuller saved Watson’s score in this game. He took 13 snaps in garbage time that didn’t register, but his elusiveness and big play ability continues to flash every week. I do wish, however, that he’d learn to take the small gains the defense provides for him. The GIF below is a 2nd and 26. He has D’onta Foreman wide open for an easy 10-15 yards, but forces it into a window and the interception is dropped.
Week 6 vs. Cleveland: The play making ability is something everyone points to when evaluating Deshaun Watson. It’s terrific, make no mistake about it, but he’s playing in a vanilla scheme that protects him from his biggest flaws. Even still, they show up from time-to-time. High throws to the edge, poor field vision and the dreaded turnover bug. In the GIF below, the pick is dropped, but that doesn’t make the decision or throw any better.