While acknowledging strong offseasons for Savage and veteran backup Brandon Weeden, coach Bill O'Brien heaped praise upon Watson during a Thursday appearance with NFL Total Access.
"Deshaun has come in and been impressive," O'Brien said. "He's come in here and done a really good job of putting the time in, learning the basics of our offense, going out on the field. ... He's really gotten better every day. He's gotten a lot of reps."
It's not unusual to see rookie quarterbacks struggle to pick up their first NFL offense or earn immediate respect in the locker room. O'Brien has already given Watson high marks for his work in the meeting room as well as the way he carries himself around veteran teammates.
"I think the big thing for him is he just needs to keep trying to get better every day," O'Brien added. "It's not easy to be a rookie quarterback in this league. It's just a different game. I think he's really come in here and put his head down and gone to work. And we've all noticed that and [are] looking forward to watching him improve every single day."
For all of the confidence O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith have expressed in Savage, recent history in Houston suggests the quarterback depth chart is as fluid as any in the league. More importantly, the substantial investment in Watson points to a legitimate competition for the starting job once preseason action kicks off in August.