Following Sunday's win over the Texans, the praise for rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson was ladeled out liberally by the Patriots.
"That dude is a slippery quarterback," defensive lineman Alan Branch said.
"That's an upcoming Cam Newton," from cornerback Malcolm Butler.
"That guy is going to be a great quarterback," added corner Devin McCourty.
Watson passed for 301 yards, and ran for another 41 more, becoming the youngest quarterback to do so, and the first since Andrew Luck accomplished that in 2012. But the key for Watson, according to his head coach, is to improve upon a scintillating Sunday in Foxborough.
"Now it's, 'OK, what do I need to do to get ready for another really good team, obviously, and a new defense and a Dick LeBeau-designed defense' – which is something he's never seen before," Bill O'Brien said Monday. "So, he just needs to take each week as a new week and a new challenge. That's the kind of kid he is and that's what he'll do."
The Titans come to town for a Sunday showdown at NRG Stadium, and they bring with them a rugged defense coordinated by LeBeau. It'll be markedly different than the unit Watson and company faced Sunday in New England, but the rookie impressed the reigning Super Bowl champs.
"He was able to work the pocket really well and when the big plays needed to be made, he somehow figured out a way to make them," Branch explained. "He made 8 yards when he needed seven or make the right pass when he slipped out a couple of sack opportunities."
Watson, who spread the ball around to eight different pass-catchers, had a completion of 21 yards or longer go to four different Texans. He finished with a passer rating of 90.6, and befuddled the Patriots in the process.
"It does get frustrating at times," defensive lineman Deatrick Wise, Junior, said. "You see that you have him in vision and all of a sudden he's somewhere else and everybody is hopping over each other."
One of those Texans with a big gain in the passing game was running back D'Onta Foreman, who had a pair of fourth quarter catches that went for 34 and 31 yards. Foreman, a fellow rookie, likes Watson's creativity.
"He's a guy who can create plays," Foreman said. "I've seen him step out of three or four tackles and still get the ball off. To me, that's amazing."
Watson was sacked just twice on Sunday, and danced out of a handful of other would-be sacks.
On Sunday he'll line up against a defense that's 27th in the NFL in yards allowed per game (367.3), and tied for 25th in sacks with 5.
The Texans faced the Patriots in Week 3 at Gillette Stadium.