For the first time since the start of January 2021, the quarterback Deshaun Watson Played football on Friday night. In three series, he completed one of five passes for seven yards.
Coach Kevin Stefanski evaluated the performance in the postgame press conference.
“I think he probably needs to get some throws back,” Stefanski said. “Obviously, playing football for the first time in a while, I thought it was important to get out with his teammates in this program, hearing a different voice in the helmet, that kind of stuff. I’m sure he had butterflies and jitters early on. But I think he understood that there was work to be done.
Stefanski said he doesn’t believe the drama surrounding Watson’s off-field issue will affect his performance. Stefanski also downplayed the idea that not playing with other starters was a factor.
“They had a lot of players who didn’t play,” Stefanski said. “So I don’t look too much into it. It’s just — you know, it’s our first game. And I think you can tell. You know, I think there was a game in Jacksonville. So for us, it’s just knock some rust off and get back to work.
Stefancsi was right about the situation with Watson.
“I think it’s important for him to be able to go out and perform with new teammates in a game setting, under the lights,” Stefanski said. “It’s not going to be perfect. Even if it’s perfect, you can’t overdo it either. So I think that’s part of the progression for him.
Stefanski seemed to welcome Watson’s impromptu apology before the game.
“I’ve been around Deshaun for a few months now and I know he wants to grow,” Stefanski said. “I know he does. That’s personally; that’s professionally. I think he’s very serious about doing that. I think that’s part of the next step for him.
This is obviously a step that comes much later than it should. Much could have been avoided if Watson had admitted his behavior and made real corrections when the claims were first made. Perhaps it would have happened if he had been surrounded by truth-tellers instead of circling the wagons.
The account always comes. The question is whether it is embraced or resisted. The longer it is resisted, the worse it will eventually be.
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