A QUIET PLACE

Here’s why no news is NOT good news for Watson, Texans

It's a nightmare and every option is awful. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The first big screen movie to feature this classic trope of Hollywood dialogue was Lucky Texan in 1934, starring John Wayne and Gabby Hayes. Many more have followed, including big box office films like Shrek, Airplane!, TheBig Chill and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"It's quiet … a little too quiet."

That's when the monster makes its first appearance, the hero is attacked or something unexpected, usually bad, happens. Hide your eyes, squeamish fans.

That's the current situation with Deshaun Watson, his 22 accusing massage therapists, NFL commissioner's office, Houston Police Department and the Houston Texans 2021 football season. Not a peep from anybody.

Will the 25-year-old, supremely gifted quarterback accused of sexual misconduct and assault, play for the Texans, a different team, be placed on the commissioner's exempt list, face league suspension and/or a criminal charge by the Houston Police Department? If everybody listens real closely, you can almost hear the soundtrack from Jaws.

It's quiet all right, no dueling press conferences by publicity-absorbed attorneys Tony Buzbee and Rusty Harden, no additional accounts of X-rated sexual misbehavior from cross-country masseuses, no comment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or Houston Police.

Yeah, a little too quiet. NFL training camps are around the corner. With the wheels of justice grinding extra slowly and both sides swearing they're hunkered down, there doesn't appear to be a legal conclusion to Watson's mess in sight.

If he shows up at Texans' camp and sticks on the roster, he will be paid his $10 million salary for 2021. It will be a pyrrhic victory for Watson, who clearly wants no part of the Texans. And the team, despite management's b.s., wants no part of Watson. Awkward indeed.

If he's placed on the NFL commissioner's exempt list, he won't be allowed to play, but he'll be paid his full salary. Paid leave may be a golden ticket to most people, not for a 25-year-old quarterback who just one year ago was the darling of Houston.

If he's suspended by the NFL, he won't be allowed to play and he won't be paid for however many games he's suspended. Lawyers aren't scheduled to depose Watson in the civil cases until after the 2022 Super Bowl. So the legal system won't do the NFL's dirty work.

If he avoids the commissioner's exempt list and is traded, he will play and be paid. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Eagles are Watson's most likely trade destination. Denver also appears in the mix. Enjoy the overtime work, publicity departments. If the Eagles do maneuver a trade for Watson, "Jalen Hurts" will be a complete English sentence.

If he is charged criminally by the Houston Police Department, then all bets are off. His football option may be limited to playing for the Mean Machine vs. the prison guards.

It's a nightmare and every option is awful. If the Texans find a trade partner, Houston is over a barrel and probably won't get fair value. If Watson reaches a settlement with the 22 accusing masseuses (a wise move) and HPD finds no reason to arrest him, Watson's reputation and asking price as an endorser are damaged - 22 is a big point spread to overcome.

Meanwhile the Texans are held hostage by a situation where its star quarterback is accused of serious sexual misconduct, they have a new coach and general manager, plus the owner is a doofus and his weirdo puppeteer are so disliked by fans that the team faces unsold season tickets for the first time in franchise history.

The Texans will head to camp with a veteran journeyman and third-round rookie at quarterback, an army of free agents, no J.J. Watt or DeAndre Hopkins, and most likely no Deshaun Watson.

If you want to hear quiet, too quiet, wait for the sounds of silence at NRG Stadium if the Texans get off to a bad start this season.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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