Unless you paid close attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2018-2021, no one really knew who Justin Watson was when he joined the Kansas City Chiefs back in March.

The former fifth-round pick played a minor role on the Buccaneers throughout his career and while he made some contributions, they weren’t enough to keep him around in Tampa Bay.

Watson had a strong camp, but didn’t really catch anyone’s eye until he was favored over All-Pro talent Josh Gordon. With all due respect, many wondered why the Chiefs elected to keep Watson over the dynamic receiver that is Gordon.

Since then, Watson has more than proved himself through the first nine games of the Chiefs’ 2022 season. He’s made stellar plays like his 41-yard touchdown over Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson and said plays have him on track for his best season, yet.

He isn’t just filling the stat sheet, however. There are a lot of things Watson does behind-the-scenes that have helped the Chiefs amass their AFC-best 7-2 record.

“He’s [Watson’s] made a lot of big catches – and big parts in games,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes told reporters Wednesday. “He does a great job of blocking. In that last game, whenever we had some guys go out there back‐to‐back, he was kind of telling guys, ‘Hey, you go to this position and you take JuJu’s (Smith‐Schuster) role. You take Marquez’s (Valdes‐ Scantling) role.’ And he knows every position on the football field. And he just wants to go out there and have success.”

It’s a perfect marriage. You have the tough, gritty player in Watson who is willing to do the little things, along with his receiving game, to ensure he has success and helps his team win.

On the other side, there’s the Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid. Reid and co. represent what every NFL franchise desires in terms of culture and winning environment. Reid has figured it out and he’s assembled a great staff and roster that is all-in.

“I think guys just understand,” said Mahomes. “The culture that (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid has built here over the years, it’s bigger than one player, it’s bigger than myself. And so, what can we do to improve ourselves to give ourselves the best chance to win?

“… In this offense, it’s about everybody.”

Watson gets it. He’s bought in and proving the staff made the correct choice as each week passes and each win is collected. And the results are proof.

But the journey has only begun. The back-half of the season never fails at separating contenders and pretenders, so Watson and the Chiefs still have a lot to prove and a long way to go.

“We’ve done whatever we can to win football games and that’s helped us be the number one seed now,” said Mahomes. “But how can we continue that and get even better as the season goes on?”

Based off what we know and what we’ve seen from Mahomes and the Chiefs over the years, it’s a safe bet they’ll provide a firm answer to that question.

Featured image via Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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