There are somehow two games left in this wretched, and yet still, beautiful 2020 NFL Season. The Texans have absolutely nothing to play for, and if they do, it just means you hate the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans. With the end being near, do you think the Texans should play Deshaun Watson these last two games?. If so, what are the benefits of having him finish out the remainder of this season?
This is the question I asked the masthead. Here are their answers:
This is a tough one for me. As a person who uses cold logic in every corner of my life, of COURSE they should sit Deshaun on the off chance he could be injured to start 2021. But at the same time, assuming the Texans are still allowing fans into NRG, imagine the kids who are going to see the Texans for the first time in their lives for Christmas, and they’re greeted with AJ McCarron. Just, no.
So yeah, I don’t want him playing, but it’s also a business and it’s not a good business move to take your superstar off the field. I can barely watch the Texans WITH Deshaun now, so to watch them without might just be a no for me. On top of this, I do think there’s something to what I will call “competitive integrity” as other teams are jockeying for playoff position. This won’t play a (direct) role against the Bengals, but for sure this will be a big deal against the Titans in Week 17. I’d love to see the Texans play spoiler against the Titans, but I’d also love it if Deshaun Watson isn’t crippled.
If you sit him - the obvious benefit is you all but guarantee his health going into 2021.
If you play him - he gets more live fire “practice”, which would benefit potential 2021 components Keke Coutee, Chad Hansen (HEY he could stick!), Akins, Warring, and any other young offensive players who see the field. That DEFINITELY does not outweigh the benefit of a guaranteed healthy Deshaun, but it’s something.
Whether to sit or not? The $156M dollar question (given the contract signed before the start of the season). With absolutely nothing at stake, and the best that the team can hope for is a 6-10 finale and spoiling the playoff position for the Titans and keeping the Dolphins from a top five pick, there is something to be said for giving AJ McCarron the majority of game snaps for the rest of the year. Many other players have financial stakes in playing, as their future with the Texans and/or other teams may depend on how they finish the year.
For Watson, no such concerns. He already has a Pro Bowl appearance and should be in some discussions for Offensive player award considerations, even with the Dumpster Fire that was this season for the Texans.
Yet, barring some COVID-related actions or an overabundance of caution, Watson will play the last two home games of the season. Why? Aside from the competitive nature that Watson has and the idea of building some momentum for next season, the Texans also face a business decision. Every single NFL team will report massive financial losses from the drop in ticket sales. For those stadiums that can allow fans in, the franchises will do all they can to recoup those dollars. For the Texans, that means Watson under center. Not many are really jonesing to see the Texans play out the string, but if Watson is not going to be under center, then there is zero point in the casual, or even the die-hard fan, shelling out the money to get to NRG Stadium. With Watson on the field playing, there is always the chance of an exciting play that will dominate highlights and show that perhaps there is reason for hope in this maelstrom of suck.
It is a business decision to sit him, but it is a business decision to play him. Granted, the first near-miss/scare, you get him out of there. However, I can’t see the team either willingly sitting him, or Watson going along with it if there is no legit injury involved. The team is dying to make the money that 28,000 or so combined tickets will bring in. No Watson, and there is no chance of that money entering the Texans’ coffers. He’ll play and everyone will just hold their collective breaths that Watson doesn’t suffer some sort of nightmare injury that sidelines him until 2022.
Like I posted a week or so ago, playing him is sheer lunacy. This has been an entire season of Friday the 13ths, so why tempt fate by exposing Watson to a season-ending, or worse, career-ending injury with absolutely nothing to play for?
Let’s face it, Watson is not only the franchise, he’s the only legit hope this team has for a future.
If I were an incoming head coach or general manager, I’d be really unhappy they weren’t resting Watson and taking a look at backup QB scenarios just so they could “play to win.” That ship sailed the moment Cal McNair let O’Brien and Easterby trade DeAndre Hopkins for a mediocre running back.
Well, Deshaun wants to play. So he’s going to play. That’s about the gist of it. I’m sure that if there was an organization within the Houston Texans that cared about the future of the team that maybe they’d bring him some reasons to call it early, but those people aren’t employed here at this time.
Deshaun is a competitor and a real leader of men (sorry Vrabel). There’s no way that he would want to check out for the remainder of the season, but it would be best if he did.
The first and most obvious reason is to prevent injury, but also, what more do we need to see from him? Sure, he’s single-handedly willed this team into some close games, but there’s no point anymore. Every potential HC candidate on the planet knows what Deshaun Watson is about, there doesn’t need to be anymore film on him either.
It’s closing time.