STRONG TAKE

Deshaun Watson's mentor on the Texans being better without Hopkins

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans begin training camp with a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson firmly in place but without an obvious number one wide receiver for Watson to throw to. The trade of All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins was one of the most controversial trades in recent NFL history and how Houston will attempt to make up for the loss of Hopkins' production could define the Texans 2020 season.

Even without Hopkins, with Watson entering his 4th season under center for the Texans expectations should still remain high according to Watson's mentor and former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer. Palmer, 35, who is the personal coach of the Jets' Sam Darnold, the Bills' QB Josh Allen, and now the Bengals' Joe Burrow, privately trained Watson leading up to the 2017 draft and has seen the signal-caller take massive steps forward during his first three seasons in the league.

"Deshaun has really grown into himself," Palmer said on The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio. "It's not just that he is smart, he also has the study habits to go with it. Deshaun's a kid that was on honor roll starting in third grade every single year until he graduated on the dean's list at Clemson in three years. So that foundation has allowed him to go further faster in that offense."

Last season in 15 games with the Texans, DeAndre Hopkins, accounted for over 100 catches, 1,100 yards, and 7 touchdowns. How will Watson adjust to not having Hopkins in the offense anymore? Not many have come out on the record and said they support the off-season that Bill O'Brien has had. However, Palmer actually believes that with Hopkins taking up a large portion of Houston's salary cap the Texans actually made a smart move dealing him to Arizona.

"I think there are going to be areas of the game that makes things more difficult," Palmer said. "At the same time, they added Brandin Cooks and David Johnson. Now neither of those guys are DeAndre Hopkins but you have to make up for productivity, not just a person... David Johnson played with my brother (Carson) in Arizona and I know how dynamic of a runner and pass catcher he is."

With Brandin Cooks, he's really similar to a lot of the body types of receivers that Deshaun played with in college. Brandon is such a consummate pro and veteran and look at who Cooks has played with? He's played with Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Jared Goff. So Brandon is a guy who is also bringing a wealth a knowledge and contributes more than just statistically… I think the addition of those two players if they stay healthy, the productively will be offset and I think this could potentially be an upgrade particularly with what DeAndre was going to chew up in cap space for them, so I actually think big picture this is the right move."

You can listen to The Jake Asman Showweekdays from 8 AM -10 AM Central on SportsMap Radio.

You can listen to the full interview with Jordan Palmer below:


Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome