QB DESHUAN WATSON INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE
Rick Smith: “Thank you, everyone, for being here. We would like to take this wonderful opportunity to welcome this young man and his family to Houston and to the Texans organization, and to introduce you to our newest member of our Texans family. We’re excited about this. We talked last night in the press conference about how we felt, obviously, convicted and excited to move up in the first round to select Deshaun and what we think he can add to our football team as a man, as a football player and a new member to our community. So, we’re excited about it. Welcome.”
What was it that you saw here and you learned that made you want to come here so bad?
Deshaun Watson: “Just starting with the visit, once I got here the players just kind of brought me in, sit down and eat lunch with all the guys and kind of building that relationship. It felt like I was already on the team, and I felt comfortable with the situation. I had a great visit with Coach (Bill) O’Brien and everything just fit it right.”
Can you discuss this relationship you have with your mom and how important this bond has been throughout your entire life?
Deshaun Watson: “My mom, she’s my rock. She’s the one that raised me. Single-parent mom of four kids and the struggles that we went through, it was tough. My whole family plays a big part of my support cast and it’s just been awesome to have them in my life.”
What are your thoughts on how you see the game of football and study film?
Deshaun Watson: “I think film study is the big key of being a great quarterback. It starts with preparation and being able to handle that and be able to be detailed with your work is key. I still have a lot to learn. I’m going to be a sponge when I get here and go to work.”
Do you remember the touchdown pass you threw over the middle against Georgia and what it took to understand the blitz that fast?
Deshaun Watson: “Actually I do. That was my first career touchdown at that level. I wasn’t a starter – Cole Stoudt, tagging out with him. He was the guy that helped me out throughout the week. We prepared for that blitz, and once I saw it I checked the play and I knew where I was going and I made the throw.”
As a rookie coming in, how ready to you feel with the offense that you ran at Clemson and all the things you understand already?
Deshaun Watson: “I know it’s going to be a challenge, which is what I’m up for, but also I have a lot to learn so I’m just anxious to get here and get to work and learn from Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage – two guys that I’m a huge fan of who I watched while they were in college. So, it’s going to be a fun ride.”
What have the last 12 hours or so been like for you?
Deshaun Watson: “My emotions have been sky-high. Ever since I got the call, tears just coming out of my eyes. It’s just surreal to think that I’m officially a National Football (League) player. Just to be able to be on this stage and be here with these guys and with this great organization, it’s special.”
How would you feel about taking some time to get caught up to speed with the pro game before taking it and running with it?
Deshaun Watson: “I think that’s the best way. Learn from the veteran guys, play whatever role I have. But my main focus is to get in here, learning about this city, learning about this organization, learning this system, and just being the best teammate I can be. Whatever role that is, just enjoying that.”
How do you feel about Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney comparing you to Michael Jordan and how did you deal with the pressure that came with that?
Deshaun Watson: “It caught me off guard, actually. I was actually training in California and after I got done working out I saw the quotes and I just kind of smiled because I knew it was Coach Swinney. That’s how Swinney is. I understand I’m not Michael Jordan. I guess he sees greatness in me, and hopefully in 10-15 years people are going to talk about my name like they do Michael Jordan.”
How important is it to you when you hear so many people talk about your character and how involved you are in the community?
Deshaun Watson: “I think it’s very big. It comes from my mother. She made sure that I was the right person off the field: I was a man, I was taking care of my responsibilities, being disciplined and just being the great guy that I am. The way I treat people is the way they’re going to treat me, so I have to carry myself the right way.”
Can you talk about how meaningful the house was that Warrick Dunn donated to you guys and how the 815 has fueled your growth as a player and as a man?
Deshaun Watson: “Right. The 815 is the neighborhood where we first were living. 815 Harrison Square. Just kind of like a recycling bin, no one really making it out. Then I was blessed to have a Habitat home, and Warrick Dunn was the professional player that came and presented the house to us. Just being able to see that and looking up to someone like that, it just fueled the fire and (made me want) to do some great things, too. It’s my responsibility to give back just like he did to me.”
A lot has been made about the meeting between the two of you when he came to visit and how that influenced this decision. Can you talk about that? And Deshaun, what was that meeting like for you in terms of solidifying that Houston was where you wanted to be?
Bill O’Brien: “It was actually the whole offensive staff that met with Deshaun (Watson) when he came, which I don’t think is easy for a young man to come in. Obviously, a bona fide draft prospect, a guy to come in here and have to stand up in front of, there were nine guys in the room: offensive line coach, receiver coach, quarterback coach, head coach. One of the things that impressed us the most was his ability to retain information with poise. We do several different things with our conversations with our quarterbacks. He handled it all very well. That impressed us. I will leave the rest of it to him, but he’s a bright guy. He’s a guy that’s really looking forward to getting here and learning like he’s been saying, and we are looking forward to coaching him.”
You might want to get a picture of your coach smiling because you do know he has a reputation of being tough on quarterbacks. I’m sure that WR DeAndre Hopkins has broached that subject with you.
Deshaun Watson: “DeAndre hasn’t said anything about it, but I’m fine with that. I love to be coached hard. It comes with the relationship that we are going to build and the trust that we are going to have.”
What has that meant being around all these men that have achieved so much knowing that the torch is now passed to you?
Deshaun Watson: “It means a lot and motivates me to do the same thing and follow their footsteps. If I see that and see greatness in them, I feel like I can do the same. If I have their support, it’s going to help me achieve those goals also.”
What do you love about the game of football? What are some of the ways that you see the game differently, the way you read defenses and think about the game?
“I just love the game of football. It brings so much to me as a person, as a man. Football is fun. It helped me get to this point right now. I just love the challenges it brings. The adversity, the struggles. Just the teammates and the teamwork and the work that you have to put in each and every week to be able to be successful, especially at this level.”
A lot of college offenses get lumped in the spread format. What did you learn about QB Deshaun Watson and how much was put on his plate at Clemson?
Bill O’Brien: “We studied every game that he played. There were several things that were put on his plate in his career. He can probably answer that better than me. I can tell you just from watching film, he had to do several things, whether it was signaling a formation to wide receivers or changing protection at the line of scrimmage or going from one play to the next. He did several things, and he did it, like I said last night, with poise in clutch moments. That’s what stood out to me. Was every play perfect? No. I’m sure he’d be the first to tell you he’d love to have certain plays here and there back. But overall, he executed at a very high level and we had a lot of fun watching him.”
How do you balance being confident and cocky as an athlete with still being humble and not getting too big of a head?
Deshaun Watson: “I respect the game and I respect the people that came before me and I respect the players on the field with me. It’s just the way I carry myself with confidence, my persona, my personality. I’m quiet and down to earth. Like I said before, I just respect others and respect the game.”
You mentioned your mom’s birthday is coming up on Saturday. Do you have any special plans?
Deshaun Watson: “We’ll be here all day today. I think we’re heading back out tomorrow morning. Of course tomorrow is her birthday, so I have a surprise for her when we get home.”
Where do you get your confidence from? Have you had that since you were a kid or was that something you developed?
Deshaun Watson: “I think probably coming in with the situation I was raised in as a kid, just handling everything. My mom of course making sure that we knew right from and how to handle different situations. Then, just my experiences throughout middle school, high school and college that kind of built me up to this point now.”
Have you talked to WR DeAndre Hopkins since you’ve been drafted? If so, what did he tell you?
Deshaun Watson: “I talked to him last night and he said, ‘Congratulations, welcome to Houston, and let’s go to work.’”
What about your skillset fits in well at this level with this team?
Deshaun Watson: “Just my poise, my confidence, being able to handle different situations, and just being able to use my skillset to win games. I think that’s the biggest way. I think every quarterback is different but the one thing that’s very similar is winning games or losing games. The biggest key is winning games.”
On Sundays last year when you watched NFL games, would you sit there and project that this year or the year after, I’m going to be the man?
Deshaun Watson: “As far as being the man, not really sure about that, but as far as playing and hearing my name called or being a professional athlete, that was a thought.”
Is it a slap in the face with Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky being picked ahead of you?
Deshaun Watson: “That’s history. My main focus is being the best Houston Texan I can be and getting here and going to work.”
What are your goals for your rookie season?
Deshaun Watson: “Just depends on the situation and role I have to play. I’m just going to play it well and go to work. Whenever my opportunity comes, I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said he had you in camp when you were in 9th grade. What do you remember about that camp?
Deshaun Watson: “As a ninth grader walking into Clemson, it was actually my first visit, so I was eyes wide open and surprised, all the great talent that was around me, all the big buildings and the big stadium. I just went in there as a young kid, just went in there and played football and try to learn as much as I can. I guess the next week I got the offer, and I knew that was the perfect spot for me.”
What other players have reached out to you since you’ve been drafted?
Deshaun Watson: “Tom Savage was actually the first guy that shot me a text afterwards. He said ‘Congratulations and welcome to Houston. Let’s go to work.’ He was excited for me to be there, to be able to join the QB room. I got a tweet from J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Reader, and there were a few other guys that kind of reached out to me.”
Bill O’Brien: “Those three guys are being nice to you right now. When training camp rolls around it might be a different story.”
How excited are you to be able to work with and develop a young, talented quarterback who could be something special?
Bill O’Brien: “Here’s what I’ll say to that, the last couple weeks since our offseason program started, I’ve had a lot of fun. I think we’ve got a great group of guys here. I think we have about 62 guys that are participating in the offseason program and they’ve shown up to go to work every day. We’ve had a lot of productive sessions and now we’re adding, at this point after the first round, we’re adding another great guy to the mix. We have a quarterback room now with good people in there and really good workers, guys that are going to come in at different stages of their careers but really work hard to perfect what we’re trying to do at that position. Again, that’s one thing that stood out to me about Deshaun (Watson), was his ability to retain information and be able to teach it back to us and have communication about it. We’re looking forward to working with him.”
People always talk about the things QB Deshaun Watson needs to do better. Are those traits you think can be developed over time with hard work?
Rick Smith: “I guess I’ll start from a scouting perspective. Part of the evaluation process does involve and include measurements and numbers and all those kinds of metrics and things that we measure. But I went to the National Championship game and I watched this guy play against a pretty good defense and I saw him make all the throws necessary with all the velocity at the specific times that he needed to put on the ball. I think he’s got enough athleticism to play quarterback in this league and we feel pretty good about that.”
You looked up to Warrick Dunn for what he did for your family. Is it surreal to know he was the 12th pick in his draft and now you’re the 12th pick in 2017?
Deshaun Watson: “It is pretty cool. Actually my PR guy from Clemson University had texted me that and sent me the picture of me and him. So, it was kind of surprising and kind of weird how that worked out but hopefully I can have a career like he did.”
Can you take us through playing against South Carolina with a torn ACL during your freshman year?
Deshaun Watson: “Yes sir. I tore my ACL. Actually came back from a hand injury. Came back against Georgia Tech and tore my ACL. Skipped a week and instead of having surgery, I told Coach (Dabo) Swinney – first off, I made a promise to him that as long as I’m the quarterback here, I’m not losing to South Carolina. They were 0-5 when (Jadeveon) Clowney was there and I was like, ‘I can’t allow that.’ So, my opportunity came up and I told him, ‘Hey, I’ll get the surgery the week after. I’m going to play.’ And he said, ‘If you can produce and perform throughout the week, then I’ll let you play.’ He let me do it and we ended up flipping the streak around.”
Rick Smith: “I don’t know if I can properly provide the right context for what it takes to play with a torn ACL but that’s a pretty special deal right there.”