Carolina Panthers might have to deal with Deshaun Watson in Week 3
Could the Carolina Panthers be facing the possibility of Deshaun Watson under center when they take on the Houston Texans on Thursday night?
The Carolina Panthers are riding on the crest of a wave after dominating the New Orleans Saints on their way to an impressive 26-7 victory. This leaves Matt Rhule’s men sitting at 2-0 ahead of their Thursday Night Football clash against the Houston Texans, which represents another outstanding opportunity to add another win and keep momentum trending in the right direction.
Houston is not expected to be among the playoff hopefuls. Some even have them tabbed as a leading contender to grab the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft after an offseason of significant upheaval.
The Panthers will no doubt be favorites for the contest. But they might have a more difficult task awaiting them in the form of Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Tyrod Taylor was injured in the Texans’ loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Although third-rounder Davis Mills came into the mix, the calls to throw Watson back into the fold were deafening on social media.
Head coach David Culley didn’t rule out the prospect of starting Watson post-game. The signal-caller is currently going through some substantial legal matters and has been a healthy scratch over the last fortnight.
"“We’ll have to see.”"
This would be a huge turn up for the books given how the relationship between Watson and the Texans has deteriorated of late. The former Clemson star wanted a trade long before matters got more complicated away from the gridiron and it was no secret that the Panthers were going to be at the front of the queue with an astronomical offer in pursuit of acquiring the player.
Things didn’t pan out that way.
And the Panthers have plenty of reasons to be encouraged surrounding the production of Sam Darnold over the first two games of the campaign.
Carolina Panthers’ defense would feast on Davis Mills if Deshaun Watson doesn’t play.
It might just be a ploy from Culley to get Carolina thinking twice on a short week in terms of preparation. But considering how much pressure Phil Snow’s unit has generated over the opening fortnight, the Texans would be throwing Mills to the wolves if they decide to go with the rookie instead.
Watson is not under any suspension at this time. Although that will undoubtedly change if his legal problems don’t come to a successful conclusion.
His talent on the field isn’t in question.
Watson is one of the best in the business and led the NFL in passing last season. This is a threat the Panthers need to take seriously even if there’s the slightest chance of the player resuming command under center.
Fate works in mysterious ways.
And the football gods might pit the Panthers against a player they coveted so heavily this offseason.
As stated previously, it would be a bombshell if Houston went in this direction. But Watson is still a paid employee and has the physical attributes to step in at a moment’s notice and make things happen.
Even if his teammates or the coaching staff are reluctant. They might not have a choice if the team wants to keep Mills out of the firing line.
This is all good news for the Panthers, who go into the game in a confident mood and should attain their third-straight win to begin the campaign if everything goes according to plan.
Whether Watson throws a spanner in the works remains to be seen.