Swinney: Watson's at his best when we need him to be


by - Senior Writer -
Watson has saved his best for last season, including at Auburn
Watson has saved his best for last season, including at Auburn

The emergence of Lamar Jackson, the lack of running success and Clemson's inability to put opponents away have all been factors in the national media's opinion that Deshaun Watson has taken a step backward this season.

Head coach Dabo Swinney begs to differ.

Watson has completed 191-of-301 passes for 2,328 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. He's also thrown ten interceptions and has rushed for just 331 yards after gaining over a thousand last season, leading many to wonder, what's wrong with Deshaun Watson.

Swinney says nothing is wrong, and that Watson is a better player than he was last season.

"He's a better player. I kind of laugh, but I guess he's a victim of his own success," Swinney said Wednesday. "Some of the people that want to suggest that he has not played as well and this and that. It's just

laughable to me. First of all, this guy has been clutch. As I say, he's not a robot. He makes mistakes. He'll miss a throw here and there but there's nobody out there that doesn't.

"But it's what he does do, that's what I look at, and it's unbelievable how he has led this team. His leadership has been incredible. His poise, no big deal to take the ball for three minutes and 23 seconds and just take the air out of it, at Jordan-Hare, that opening game, that was kind of a lot of drive that nobody talks about, and he took this team right down the field."

Watson repeated those heroics against Louisville and Florida St.

"And then the Louisville game, the 85-yard drive in that game, and then obviously the other night," Swinney said. "He's just been there. The overtime -- it's just amazing. You know, he throws a pick-six against NC State and comes back and hits 14 straight completions. He's just unbelievable.

"He just has a toughness to him and a poise, and again, a leadership quality that is very uncommon. It's just hard to describe until you experience it. I mean, he's special. But he's played very well. He's better than he was last year. And he's still got room for improvement, and I don't have any doubt he'll be at his best when we need him to be."

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