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Deshaun Watson admits things are different without DeAndre Hopkins

Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has had the luxury of knowing he had an All-Pro receiver lining up wide each year he was under center, until this fall.

The Texans pulled one of the shockers of the offseason when they dealt DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in March.

Watson said Saturday morning things are “different” without Hopkins on the field.

Hopkins had established himself as one of the best, if not the best, wide receivers in football during his seven years with the Texans.

The former Clemson star made four Pro Bowls, and he was also named first-team All-Pro in each of the past three seasons.

However, Bill O’Brien elected to trade Hopkins when he demanded a pay raise, and the fallout has since led to Hopkins saying he never had much of a “relationship” with his former head coach.

Rather than giving Hopkins a raise, the Texans pivoted by signing veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb and trading for former Los Angeles Rams wideout Brandin Cooks. Houston also gave a record-breaking extension to left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Waston still has the potential to put up big numbers without Hopkins.

Cobb had an excellent year with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, and Cooks is one of the elite big-play receivers in football when healthy. But both have dealt with injuries throughout their career, and neither boast the generational talent of a player like Hopkins.

Still, Watson and the Texans will have to trudge forward as they hope to get back to the playoffs in 2020.