Watson already has set a single-season rookie franchise record for touchdown passes with 12. The previous record was held by David Carr, who threw nine touchdown passes as a rookie in 2002. Watson has played well in three straight games and showed his impressive performances against the New England Patriots in Week 3 and the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 were not an anomaly.
“When you have a guy like that, and look, I know he’s only a 22-year-old rookie, [but] I think our team needs to understand that and to understand that you’ve got this guy under center and at shotgun out there playing for you, you’ve got a chance in every single game,” O’Brien said. “No doubt about it.”
Although Watson is just a rookie, O’Brien has praised his quarterback all season for his poise on and off the field. The way Watson handles himself, O’Brien said, allows the Texans’ coaching staff to give the rookie a lot of responsibility and not feel they’re overwhelming him at a time when Houston especially needs the offense to succeed because of injuries to the defense.
“Like I’ve said from day one with him, he’s got an excellent demeanor,” O’Brien said. “He’s a very poised guy, but I think at the same time, he’s learning all the time. I mean, he’s only played in four-and-a-half games, basically, and we have to understand that.
“I’m not talking about overloading him with 180 plays in a game plan, I’m just saying that this guy’s a competitor, he never believes that the game’s over and he’s all about winning. He doesn’t care about stats, he cares about one thing, and that’s winning and getting his team in the end zone. And that’s really what you mark a quarterback by. You judge a quarterback by the amount of times they can get their teams in the end zone and how much they win, and I think that’s what he’s all about.”
After Watson threw four second-half touchdowns on Sunday to keep the Texans in the game, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he was most impressed with the rookie’s composure.
“We were down however much we were down, and he was sitting on the sideline rallying guys up, telling us we need to go out here and work on something or let’s try to score every time we touch the ball,” Hopkins said.
The Texans are 2-3, in a three-way tie behind the 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South. And while Watson and the offense still have much to improve on, O’Brien hopes if the group can find some consistency, they can be “pretty good” this season.
“There are certain things that I think we can really build on with this football team,” O’Brien said. “I really think this offense can really get cooking if we can shore some things up and get people really focusing on doing their jobs. I think we have a chance to be pretty good. I mean, we’ve been good but not consistent. We have to be more consistent.”