Still facing troubling allegations of sexual misconduct from more than 20 women, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been on the field practicing with his team during training camp. (He missed a few days with minor leg injuries prior to this week.) His future with the team was already murky after last season, before the allegations surfaced. He still wants to be traded, but the NFL has so far been silent on whether he’ll be disciplined or put on the commissioner’s exempt list while the league investigates the claims.
It’s important not to trivialize Watson’s accusers, and the most important thing here is that his accusers are heard and the legal process plays out. There is still the question about who will play quarterback for the Texans when the season starts. Besides Watson, Houston has veteran signal caller Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills, a third-round pick out of Stanford. They also signed Jeff Driskel, most recently of the Broncos, in May.
Latest camp news
Week 1 preseason recap: Taylor got the start and played 10 snaps. He completed all four of his passes for 40 yards and helped guide the Texans to a field goal. Davis Mills replaced him and played 36 snaps. Mills was 11 of 22 for 112 yards and an interception. Jeff Driskel closed out the game with 29 snaps and was 1 of 6 for 2 yards. DeShaun Watson was inactive.
August 10: While Watson returned to practice on Monday, he is not expected to travel with the team to Green Bay for their preseason opener against the Packers. The most recent reports say the team believes that Watson will still be its quarterback this season. With his status still undecided, it makes a trade unlikely.
Taylor has been working as the team’s starter with Watson out, and he’s the clear No. 2 option under center. Taylor’s camp performance, so far, has been solid. He and slot receiver Anthony Miller, acquired from the Bears via trade in June, have forged a strong connection. Where Taylor struggles is with his downfield throws, which would mean a different look for the offense when he’s under center.
Mills had an intriguing run in college, but a short one. He only made 11 starts, due to a knee injury. He’s got the size and the arm, and even some limited mobility, but he was a raw prospect out of college. By all accounts he still looks raw in training camp. Recent reports reveal a player struggling to pick up the offense and making too many bad throws. But it’s not all bad news, there were some signs this week that Mills had picked up his play.
Next preseason game: at Dallas Cowboys
Taylor will likely see a little more work in this contest, but the question now is the battle between the third round pick Mills and veteran Driskel for the backup battle. Mills would appear to have the edge, but Driskel has the experience. If Watson ends up on the exempt list, the Texans might end up keeping both as backups to Taylor.
Fantasy football verdict
Pre-Week 2 preseason: Tyrod Taylor is the clear starter. He had a solid debut for Houston and will likely see a little more work in Week 2.