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Deshaun Watson looks good in preseason opener

The Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers kicked off the first week of preseason football on Wednesday night at Bank of America Stadium, and the masses are already going insane over Deshaun Watson.

Watson, who Houston traded up 13 spots for in April’s draft, played much of the night after coming in to relieve starter Tom Savage of his duties. The rookie quarterback had a good night, throwing for 179 yards on 15-of-25 passing with no touchdowns or interceptions. It should be noted that Watson ran for a 15-yeard score at the end of the third quarter to pull Houston to within a touchdown. If anyone cares, Carolina won the game, 27-17.

But the real story is Watson, who made his debut before fellow first-round quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes. Those two will get their opportunities on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Watson looked comfortable under center against Carolina’s second and third-string defenses, hitting on 60 percent of his throws while averaging 7.2 yards per attempt. Because of this, and coupled with Savage looking very average despite a 9-of-11 line, folks on the internet are already clamoring for Watson to be the starter. Perhaps they have a point, considering Savage is entering his fourth year — and a contract year — and has yet to throw for a touchdown in the NFL.

Then again, maybe this is the classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Watson was good on Wednesday night, but he wasn’t spectacular. There were a handful of throws that were ugly, going to nobody in particular. He was also playing against backups and later in the contest, their backups. Who is to say how Watson would have done in Savage’s shoes, playing against the likes of Luke Kuechly?

For the record, I’m a Watson fan. Dating back to his days at Clemson where he brought the Tigers to consecutive National Championship games, he’s always showed the poise of a winner and the smarts of a pro. That said, a couple of bad throws that harmlessly hit the turf against poor competition and vanilla schemes might very well turn into interceptions in real games.

Houston would be wise to bring Watson along slowly, no matter how he plays in the preseason. The Texans aren’t winning the Super Bowl this season anyway, not with the New England Patriots still lording over the league like kings eyeing the commoners.

Watson is the future in Houston, and that’s enough for ample excitement. Still, to go overboard because of 25 throws in a glorified scrimmage is lunacy, even when talking about something as hyperbolic as NFL fandom.

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