Leave it to the Texans to fumble around and put their first-year head coach in a sticky situation.
After a podcast released on Thursday afternoon, NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter shared a sentiment that Houston seemed to be softening its stance when it came to trading star quarterback Deshaun Watson. Trotter’s assessment of the situation came after interviewing new head coach David Culley:
Culley when asked if Watson will be their starting QB in Week 1 of the 2021 season: "He is our starting quarterback right now. He is our starting quarterback. Things happen between now and then. We'll see what happens."
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) March 11, 2021
To be clear, Culley didn’t say Watson was on the trading block. But clearly, Trotter felt a sense that Houston’s firm stance was thawing a bit.
Hearing Watson referred to as being the starting quarterback “right now,” that “things happen between now and then,” and “we’ll see what happens” is noteworthy. The next time an ideal result comes after someone vaguely says “we’ll see” will be a first. Moreover, this phrasing and terminology is different from when Culley first arrived, insisting insisted Watson would be Houston’s Week 1 QB1. All in all, this snapshot makes it seem like the Texans are willing to come to grips with reality. And that reality is that granting Watson’s request and rebuilding with a trade haul might be best for all parties.
But then, Culley offered this while meeting with the Houston media:
David Culley on the QB situation: “There is no contingency plan. (Deshaun Watson) is a Houston Texan, and that’s how we’re moving forward with it. We’re committed to him, as I said before.”
— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) March 11, 2021
Oh. Em. Gee.
After insinuating that Watson could be traded, Culley essentially walked it back. Publicly doubling down on the franchise’s stance that it won’t be trading the quarterback after what was said on the podcast doesn’t line up. Re-iterating that Watson is staying put in after using language that suggests otherwise in another is odd. But then again, the Texans shouldn’t have put Culley in this spot in the first place. Imagine being an NFL lifer who finally gets their first head-coaching position, only to have to deal with this ridiculousness.
Seriously. What properly run organization throws their brand-spanking-new head coach to the wolves like that? Brutal.
This whole situation should bother me more than it does. But it doesn’t. Because this is the type of chaotic stuff the Texans have been dealing with for the better part of a calendar year. That it’s coming to light now is a testament to Watson’s excellence at quarterback. Because, as if you needed another reminder, great quarterback play can cover up just about anything.