3. Keep the Passes Short
I get that we want to unleash Deshaun Watson. You pay a guy that much money because you expect him to make plays. But that's just not working right now.
Watson is just 2-of-8 for 56 yards on deep (20+ yard) passes this season, and those 7.0 yards per attempt rank 24th in the NFL. He’s also 8-of-18 on intermediate passes (10-19 yards) ranking 26th in the NFL with 6.7 yards per attempt.
So there really hasn’t been much more upside in having him push it downfield than having him throw short (0-9 yard) passes, where he’s averaging 6.0 yards per attempt while completing them at a 72.7% rate and obviously taking on significantly less interception risk.
It can be tempting to go deep against the Titans. They've faced the highest average target depth (10.9 yards) of any defense this year. But they've done pretty well against those shots, and they’ve allowed the NFL’s third-most yards per pass attempt (9.0).
In the normal course, you probably want to see your quarterback trying to force some big plays against them. But Watson has just been so shaky throwing down the field this season, and now's not the time to try unleashing him. Not when we're 1-1 in what already feels like a must-win game.
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