Maybe Schefter is right. Maybe Deshaun Watson told the Texans he wanted out back at the beginning of the month. As soon as the weaselly Jack Easterby hired Nick Caserio as his GM, perhaps Watson got on the phone and did a Denis Lemieux:
… and that this Schefter report today is something else.
Possibly, this is because Watson finally put the demand in writing. Three weeks seems like a long time to wait to get your future sorted out. But January's been a busy month. We've had the playoffs and "WandaVision" and those Christmas decorations don't take themselves down. But you have to admit, the timing on this is curious.
Here's the deal. I don't have much of an opinion about David Cullen. Unlike the phony zealot who used his religion as a tool to gain power like the High Sparrow of Houston, I have nothing bad to say about the man. He's a football lifer. A 65-year-old who's been in coaching for 27 years, 17 of which were on Andy Reid's staff. People who do know him say great things about his character and the respect they have for him.
But there's the thing. No sooner did the pundits start to speculate on how good Culley would be the cure for what's eatin' Deshaun Watson then Watson went on Turbo Trade Demand mode. It just seems like too much of a coincidence that the report would come out right after his new coach gets hired, unless Watson has a beef with the hiring itself.
Why would he? Well, a few reasons, none of them personal. For one, Culley has spent the last two years as the "Passing game coordinator/WR coach" for the Ravens. During which time their passing offense finished:
- Attempts: 32nd
- Yards: 27th
- Yards per attempt: 12th
- Completion %: 10th
- Attempts: 32nd
- Yards: 32nd
- Yards per Attempt: 18th
- Completion %: 26th
You can't look at these numbers and not grade them on the curve by pointing out the Ravens have had the best rushing attack of the modern era during that time. Or that they led the league in touchdown passes in 2019, with 37. But if you're Deshaun Watson and you want to play for someone who'll maximize your skills - especially after you were 2nd in the league in passer rating despite the unconscionable DeAndre Hopkins trade - is a passing game specialist who's passing game hasn't been anything remotely special your best option? Especially if his other specialty, wide receiver coach, has an even worse track record?
If you're 25 and presumably about to enter your prime, is a 65-year-old who's never been a coordinator, never mind a head coach, your first choice? And even though you can probably work with the guy, if you've got the juice to demand a trade and find 25 teams ready to start gathering up their draft capital to make an offer, and most of them have coaches with success at running a passing attack, wouldn't you want to play for someone else?
Not everyone would. Some guys pride themselves on wearing the same uniform their whole careers. But I defy anyone to blame Watson if he decides that playing for a chaotic organization he doesn't trust with a new head coach who doesn't seem to fit his skill set - universally respected though he may be - is not in his best interest.
It's not personal, it's business. And being in the Deshaun Watson business is about to get really good.