Wat­son likely to be in lineup against Bills

Houston Chronicle - - PRO FOOTBALL | ETC. - By Aaron Wil­son STAFF WRITER aaron.wil­son@chron.com twit­ter.com/aaron­wilson_nfl

Tex­ans quar­ter­back De­shaun Wat­son is of­fi­cially listed as ques­tion­able on the in­jury re­port be­cause of a chest in­jury that lim­ited him in prac­tice all week.

Al­though the Tex­ans have pre­pared backup Bran­don Wee­den to play by hav­ing him take lots of work with the first-team of­fense, there’s grow­ing op­ti­mism Wat­son will play Sun­day against the Buf­falo Bills. He’s re­garded as a game-time de­ci­sion.

Wat­son has got­ten bet­ter ev­ery day since suf­fer­ing a crush­ing hit from Dal­las Cow­boys line­backer Jay­lon Smith when the sec- ond-year quar­ter­back threw an in­ter­cep­tion dur­ing an over­time vic­tory Sun­day.

Wat­son was able to throw Fri­day as his work­load in prac­tice was in­creased. He dis­played zip on one side­line throw dur­ing the por­tion open to re­porters.

The Tex­ans could al­ways sit Wat­son as a pre­cau­tion, but they are not rul­ing out the strong pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing him play against the Bills be­cause of his tough­ness and mo­bil­ity.

“Do I think he will play?” Tex­ans coach Bill O'Brien said Fri­day. “I'll let the in­jury re­port give you the most up­dated in­for­ma­tion, but he's been able to do some things in prac- tice.”

O’Brien char­ac­ter­ized Wat­son’s mo­bil­ity as “good.”

From his van­tage point, Wee­den wit­nessed progress from Wat­son.

“He's throw­ing the ball well,” Wee­den said. “With him, you can just never tell. He's al­ways the same guy. Mon­day, he ob­vi­ously was sore prob­a­bly, but he has im­proved ev­ery day. He looks good. He's healthy and he feels good.”

Wat­son has said he’s cer­tain he will play against the Bills de­spite be­ing hit 10 times against the Cow­boys.

When asked if he thought Wat­son will start, Wee­den replied: “I don't know how that's go­ing to work. That's up to (O'Brien). He showed a lot of im­prove­ment.”

Wee­den said “No,” when asked if he's been told he's start­ing.

“As a backup quar­ter­back, that's my role to be ready,” Wee­den said. “Hope­fully, he plays ev­ery snap. If my num­ber is called, I've got to be ready.”

Wee­den, 34, is a for­mer Cleve­land Browns firstround draft pick.

“He can spin the ball, he re­ally knows our of­fense, good guy, good team­mate, smart player, has played in the league, been with a cou­ple dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions, un­der­stands how to ap­proach ev­ery day as a pro,” O’Brien said. “Bran­don’s a good guy to have in the build­ing.”

El­iz­a­beth Con­ley / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Al­fred Blue, left, keeps Cow­boys line­backer Jay­lon Smith at arm’s length. All in­di­ca­tions point to Blue get­ting his hand­offs from De­shaun Wat­son Sun­day.

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