Payne: O’Brien Wants Watson To Become “A Genuine NFL Quarterback”

Seth Payne reflected on Bill O’Brien’s head-scratching decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins and assessed the Houston Texans heading into 2020

Tiki and Tierney
August 13, 2020 - 4:53 pm
Bill O'Brien Texans Deshaun Watson

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The Houston Texans have won the AFC South in four of the last five seasons. That’s the good news. The bad news is they’ve never advanced past the divisional round and last year blew a 24-0 playoff lead against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

And, two months later, Bill O’Brien shocked the NFL world by trading DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for peanuts.

You’ll have to forgive Texans fans who still haven’t forgiven O’Brien.

“I think what Bill O’Brien hopes is that this is the year that Deshaun [Watson] truly becomes a genuine NFL quarterback,” former NFL defensive tackle and current Houston 610 host Seth Payne said on Tiki & Tierney. “Kind of the way Russell Wilson made the transition after a few years into being a genuine NFL quarterback who’s really assessing the whole field and looking at all of his options.”

Hopkins had 150 targets last season – fifth-most in the NFL. In fact, he had more than twice as many targets as Will Fuller, who finished second on the Texans with 71.

“That’s why [O’Brien] went out and he got a whole bunch of speed,” Payne said. “He added Brandin Cooks. Randall Cobb is not as fast as he once was, but all these guys on the receiving corps – they’re guys who have run 4.4 or less all over the place, and then you’ve got two pass-catching running backs. I think he just wants to have a more diverse passing attack. Now, I still don’t agree with getting rid of one of the very best wide receivers in the NFL, but that’s what I think Bill O’Brien [wants].”

Without Hopkins, though, do the Texans have enough to win the division for the fifth time in six seasons?

“They definitely have the ability,” Payne said. “The Titans are the most intriguing team just because they were winning with conventional old-school football, and if I have to pick somebody to trust, I don’t know if I trust Ryan Tannehill completely. But I think I trust Arthur Smith, their offensive coordinator. They did some really good things [with] just the way they operated on offense. I like it a lot. The Texans, the last meaningful time they played them in Week 15, the Texans did a really good job against the Titans. I think it’s going to be a battle [for the division].”