HOUSTON – Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt spoke to media Saturday via Zoom on various topics, including the health and safety protocols of NFL training camp.
Watson also chimed in on the DeAndre Hopkins trade, the first time he’s done so extensively.
Here are the top 3 things from the interviews:
Watson says trade criticism above pay grade
One of the most important things going on in the Texans world is Deshaun Watson’s future with the team.
Both Watson and the Texans have said they want to pursue a long-term contract. Some of that means the Texans need to keep Watson happy, which they’ve mostly done by surrounding him with weapons and upgrading his offensive line.
One thing that would make any quarterback upset, especially when contract negotiations, are happening is what the Texans did this offseason via trade. By trading away Watson’s top target in DeAndre Hopkins, the team invited criticism that they weren’t putting their young superstar quarterback in the best position to win.
“That’s not my pay [grade],” he said. “I can’t control that. I feel the way I feel, but it’s not my place and time to be able to speak on that because I didn’t know the whole background story on what exactly happened. That’s their business and that’s their lane. I’m not going to step out of my lane and get in that. But I know that me and Hop have a great relationship. I know that me and OB have a great relationship. But that’s something that I can’t play both sides in. I’m just going to sit in the middle and watch it from afar. That’s their business and I’m not going to get into it.”
Watson was asked multiple times about a potential contract extension but deferred to his agent, David Mulugheta of Athletes First, and said he is focused on winning.
Watson likes new weapons
Watson said he’s been able to get throwing sessions in with new wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb but has been doing them in a safe way.
“Yeah, I’ve worked out with them a couple of times over the summer,” he said. “We’ve kind of been making sure that we’re picking the right time to work out and doing the right things and taking the precautions that we need to make sure everyone is staying safe. Everyone has a family. They have kids and a wife.
So, making sure they’re staying safe, that their wife and the kids are on the same page of what we’re doing and what we’re working out and who we’ve been around and checking temperature and things like that, and staying sanitized. It’s been good the times we’ve been working out, but it’s also been difficult and kind of nerve-wracking because we haven’t been able to work out as much as we’ve wanted to. At the same time, we’ve been FaceTiming, texting, doing a lot of mental work so whenever they came in, they were ready and prepared.”
One of Watson’s favorite targets, Will Fuller V is coming into the season healthy after various soft tissue issues in 2019. Without Hopkins, Watson predicts a big season for Fuller V.
“Will is going to ball out,” said Watson. “Will is going to be one of the best receivers in the league. He came back a lot stronger, a lot faster. Will is really good, very confident in himself, and what he did over the offseason. I’m very confident in what he can do. We all are as an organization and as a team. There’s no doubt that Will can take that role and do great things with it.”
Watt feels like his in Terminator movie
Coming to work is different for all of us, including NFL players.
When Watt shows up to the Texans facility, there are different health protocols put in place this season.
“Coming to work in general is weird now. It’s like we’re in a Terminator movie or something,” said Watt. “There are facial recognition doors. You don’t touch anybody and you have a beeper you have to wear. It’s pretty wild.”
Watt is ready to play the 2020 season. But he said he is thankful no one in his immediate family or anyone he is regularly around is into a high-risk category.
“I’m fortunate to not have anyone in my direct line of life right now that has underlying conditions or anything, so I’m in a situation where I’m lucky. I know other guys aren’t in the same situation, so it’s a much more difficult decision.”