PFF: Watson's best game so far; Talented Browns team ahead

PFF: Watson's best game so far; Talented Browns team ahead
Deshaun Watson has had some nice games, but Monday night was his best. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Pro Football Focus grades each individual player's performance and assigns them a grade. All 32 teams use Pro Football Focus. 

Each week we will take a look at some of the key grades as well as some from the Texans upcoming opponent. They also do great fantasy analysis and draft coverage as well. Stats are for the previous game unless otherwise noted. You can join Pro Football Focus here

Deshaun Watson - 91.8 offense grade

His best grade of the season. Watson only made a handful of mistakes in this game and even then they were excusable ones because he was fantastic on this night. He took care of the ball and gave his pass catcher plenty of chances to make plays. He got his legs moving too as he was scrambling more than he has in recent weeks. He completed almost 80 percent of his passes. He was on against the Titans. His next task is a suddenly hot Browns team and it may not be nearly as easy. 

Johnathan Joseph - 46.8 defense grade

A rare bad game from Joseph who has been on a hot streak recently. It's his lowest graded game since his last game against Tennesee in week two. The Titans seemed content to pick on Joseph and the dump offs the Titans like to use in their offense will affect his grade quite a bit. He allowed a big completion and all the passes his way to be completed. A rare bad game. I would expect he bounces back against the Browns. 

Justin Reid - 33.2 tackling grade

Justin Reid finally missed a tackle. The nature of the Titans offense sets up for a hard night for grading safties. They throw it shorts and players have to run up from the safety position and make big plays. It was the first time his tackling grade had slipped below the 80's since week one of the season. It cost him his league-best tackling grade but it was a rare slip-up for Reid. He learns quickly and likely will be making big plays against the Browns. 

Myles Garrett - 83.2 defensive grade (season)

The former top pick is the 10th best-graded edge defender in football when accounting for playing 50 percent of the team's snaps. He's a monster. He has 10 sacks on the season to his name and he is just as dangerous in slowing down the run too. He will be a tough one to slow down for the Texans. It will be important for Deshaun Watson to use his legs to escape some of the pressure and make sure the protection is there to handle Garrett. 

Denzel Ward - 84.4 coverage grade (season)

He is a rookie and has the fourth-best coverage rating in football when accounting for playing 50 percent of the team's snaps. That is insane. He was widely panned when he was drafted but Ward is playing his tail off. He has tallied 11 pass deflections and three interceptions. The quarterback rating when throwing at Ward is 69.7 which is one of the best in the league. It will be a challenge for the Texans wideouts dealing with this talented rookie.

As always, you can join Pro Football Focus here

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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