Now the Houston Texans coach hopes Watson can do the same on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals, knowing that his team’s playoff aspirations and its future at quarterback could rely on how Watson develops in his first NFL season.
O’Brien understands the challenges of playing a rookie quarterback — he said all through the offseason, even before the Texans gave up two first-round picks to trade up and draft Watson, how difficult it is to start at quarterback as a rookie — and he elected to go with Savage as the starter entering the regular season. Savage’s agent blasted the Texans on Wednesday for benching Savage after just one half, saying Savage earned the starting job during training camp and that pulling him after just 31 plays was unfair.
Ideally for the Texans, Savage would have started all season and the team would have won while Watson had the year to study and learn the playbook and adjust to the NFL. Instead, by playing him in the second half on Sunday, O’Brien sped up Watson’s development and made it very difficult to go back to Savage.