Registrato: 07/07/18 12:54
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|Deshaun Watson was back in a game this week for the first time since surgery to repair a right knee injury in November , and although he didn't play long, he relished his return.
"I just played five snaps, handed the ball off, threw one pass," Watson said. "So, it wasn't too bad. Good to just go out there for a couple plays and then watch everyone else perform."
The Houston Texans quarterback is looking to build on his limited action as the team prepares for two practices with the San Francisco 49ers next week before hosting them in their second preseason game on Saturday.
Watson's health and development in his second year will be critical as Houston tries to bounce back from a season filled with injuries during which the team went 4-12 for its first losing season since 2013. Though he played in just seven games before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in practice, Watson gave the Texans optimism that he'll be the answer to their longtime problems at the position.
He threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 269 yards and two more scores after Houston traded up to select him with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft.
Saturday was the team's first practice back in Houston after the Texans spent the first part of training camp in West Virginia. Although they had to adjust to the hotter temperatures at home, Watson and the Texans got a boost from working out in front of several hundred cheering fans.
"The climate ... it's hot and muggy but at the end of the day we have to come out here and play football and perform and just focus on our task," he said. "So, it's always good to have the fans around and show love. They give us energy and high hopes for this season."
The 22-year-old said he's grown a lot since arriving in Houston last season and is looking forward to building on what he did last year.
"Just really (grown) as a person as a whole and then just the knowledge of the game ," he said. "Just being able to understand the offense, understand what the defense is doing and just play faster, just go out there and play and not overthink things."
Coach Bill O'Brien, who worked with Tom Brady when he was an assistant with the Patriots, has enjoyed watching Watson develop and is looking for ways to help him take another step.
"I think there's areas where he and I need to grow together, like in the red area," he said. "We're a little bit behind there but we have to work together on that and see if we can execute better down there, but I think there's a lot of areas where he's gotten better and better, and he'll only get better and better because he works at it and the experience he gets will really help him."
Watson is working behind a revamped offensive line this year after last year's group allowed the second-most sacks in the league. So far, he likes the way the unit is coming together.
"Guys just building chemistry, working hard each and every day , never complaining," Watson said. "They make mistakes, but at the end of the day they correct those mistakes and don't make it twice, just like everyone else on the offense. Just guys that love to play football. They have a passion about going in ... and putting in the work, and (are) passionate about winning."
Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams injured his leg during the fourth practice of training camp Tuesday, potentially dealing another blow to Los Angeles‘ depth in the defensive secondary.
But coach Anthony Lynn is cautiously optimistic that his team’s latest injury isn’t serious.
Williams was hurt while defending receiver Mike Williams in a red zone drill. Trevor Williams had to be helped off the field by teammate Jahleel Addae.
After getting attention from the training staff, he left Jack Hammett Sports Complex on crutches with his left foot in a walking boot.
The injury and Williams’ reaction to it were foreboding, but Lynn was hopeful he hasn’t lost his starting cornerback for an extended period.
”You’re holding your breath there,” Lynn said. ”I think he sprained his ankle, but I don’t think it’s bad. I mean, it’s the fourth day of training camp. Hell , we have coaches around here limping. Coaches are sore, so I can’t imagine how the players feel.”
After the Chargers’ history with catastrophic injuries in the past few seasons, Lynn won’t exhale until Williams undergoes further tests.
The Chargers are a popular pick to earn a playoff spot this fall, but they already incurred serious injuries to two potential key contributors before training camp even began.
Los Angeles lost starting tight end Hunter Henry to a knee injury on a non-contact drill in May. The Chargers then lost long-injured former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett to a torn Achilles tendon during a conditioning test last week.
Verrett’s most recent injury occurred at the brink of his comeback after missing most of the past two seasons. His newest setback ”broke a lot of our hearts,” Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward said.
But Verrett’s absence wasn’t a disaster for the Chargers last season because of the surprising emergence of Williams, who stepped into a key role after catching on with the Chargers in 2016 as an undrafted free agent from Penn State.
Williams started five games as a rookie, and he started 15 more games last season opposite Hayward in the Chargers’ opportunistic defensive secondary. He made the first two interceptions of his career along with 56 tackles and generally provided outstanding coverage.
”He’ll bounce back,” defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said of Williams. ”Trevor is a great professional, and you know he’s going to do whatever he can to get right back on the field. We’re just going to wait on him and be patient.”
The Bolts have been forced to do that quite a bit during Mebane’s tenure. They lost a staggering number of man-games to injuries in San Diego during their final two seasons, which were also the worst two seasons of Philip Rivers‘ 12-year tenure as their starting quarterback. Fans who followed the Chargers from San Diego to LA already know the Bolts went 5-11 in 2016 after losing Verrett, cornerback Brandon Flowers , linebacker Manti Te’o, receivers Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson and running back Danny Woodhead for extended periods.
Even after losing Verrett last week, the Chargers’ secondary is fairly well stocked. Desmond King played extensively as a rookie last season, primarily as a nickel back, while first-round pick Derwin James is expected to be an immediate contributor at safety alongside Addae, who started all 16 games last season.
”If Trevor’s ankle is bad, then I would be concerned about the depth there,” Lynn said. ”But I’m also confident in those young guys behind him. They’re stepping up and making plays in practice, and there’s going to be a nice competition in that group.”