It’s safe to say, Deshaun Watson‘s reputation has been on a downward spiral ever since the sexual accusations against him were made. Well, these comments aren’t likely to help the Pro Bowl quarterback’s reputation either, even if he has nothing to do with the words themselves.
According to Quincy Avery, who is Watson’s personal quarterback coach, in 2020, the Houston Texans provided his client with a receiving corps who could have just easily been mistaken as the local employees who stock shelves at grocery stores.
Here are the direct quotes pulled from Avery’s appearance on The Ringer’s The Ryen Rusillo Podcast
“[People] might have forgot that his last year in Houston, when he played, he was carrying like three guys who could have been working at your local Walmart at the receiver position and he went absolutely berserk,” Avery told Ryen Russillo, via the Houston Chronicle. “If he gets on a team with any sort of talent around him, somebody’s going to have to really watch out.”Quincy Avery on Deshaun Watson’s supporting cast in 2020 (H/t to Pro Football Talk)
Who were the 2020 Houston Texans receivers?
Naturally, Avery’s comments have made several NFL historians curious. Just who were these receivers that Watson’s QB coach is tearing apart? We went back and looked at the data, courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
- Brandin Cooks – 81 receptions, 1,150 receiving yards
- Will Fuller – 53 receptions, 879 receiving yards
- Randall Cobb – 38 receptions, 441 receiving yards
It’s unlikely that Avery was including Cooks, Fuller or Cobb in that group he was insulting. These three players were responsible for 2,470 of Watson’s 4,823 passing yards during the 2020 season.
As he even said, there were roughly three players who don’t compare well to other athletes around the league. There were eight other pass-catchers who topped 100 receiving yards with the Texans in 2020.
- Jordan Akins
- Keke Coutee
- David Johnson
- Darren Fells
- Duke Johnson
- Chad Hansen
- Pharoah Brown
- Kenny Stills
Alright, so upon further inspection, Avery’s comments are pretty noteworthy. Cooks and Cobb have both achieved 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL and Fuller likely would have in 2011 had he not missed five games due to injury. That alone is a solid staff, arguably better than what some other teams worked with a year ago.
Even some of the veteran names on the 100-yards and above list stand out, certainly not as people who should be working at their local Walmart. The Johnson running backs are longtime vets, as is Kenny Stills and Darren Fells. And Akins and Brown were two of the team’s top tight end targets this past season.
Sure, they may not have had a cast full of No. 1 receivers, but they were much better than what Davis Mills got to work with as a rookie quarterback in 2021. Avery’s claims don’t appear to have much merit, for the receiver position anyway.
There may be other areas of the roster that can be criticized, but Watson had some respectable targets during his last full season of play, in which he led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards.
Deshaun Watson ready to rip
Anyway, the podcast appearance of his QB coach wasn’t just to rip current and past members of the Houston Texans organization, it appears he mainly wanted to express how ready Deshaun Watson is for a potential return to the NFL in 2022.
“We’ve started working out and I will say this: Deshaun is throwing the ball better than I think I’ve ever seen him throw a football,” said Avery, who runs Quarterback Takeover and trains some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and college. “And, I’m not just saying this, but he’s super healthy, he’s super focused, he’s super locked in. When it comes to like putting on his cleats, walking on a field, Sunday at 1 o’clock? The first time that he does that, I think that people are going to be reminded very, very quickly that Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.”Quincy Avery on Deshaun Watson’s throwing progress
As teams work through their offseason plans, there’s no question Watson is at the top of the list from a skill perspective. There are much bigger questions lingering about his ongoing legal situation, with some teams already taking themselves out of consideration altogether.