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Deshaun Watson expected to start after taking first-team reps

Although Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien has yet to name a starting quarterback for the game Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals, rookie Deshaun Watson is expected to start over Tom Savage, a source told ESPN on Thursday.

Watson has taken first-team reps this week at practice and all signs pointed to him being the team's Week 2 starter.

It won't be a surprise for the Bengals. Coach Marvin Lewis said on Tuesday that the Bengals were preparing as if Watson would start.

"We're kind of planning on it being Deshaun because they made the change at halftime," Lewis told media members who cover the Texans on a conference call. "I would imagine it would be him coming forward this week."

Watson relieved Savage in the second half of a 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after Savage and the offense struggled to move the ball. Savage was 7-of-13 for 62 yards and was sacked six times. Watson did not fare much better, going 12-of-23 for 102 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Savage's agent on Wednesday blasted the team for benching his client in the Week 1 loss.

"I'm still trying to figure this out ... 31 plays and you're getting benched?" Savage's agent, Neil Schwartz, told NBC Sports. "It makes no sense.

"... He went 7-for-13 ... 12 of the 13 balls touched the receiver's hands. The only ball that didn't was the strip-sack fumble that they called incomplete [upon replay]. Seven were completions, five were drops."

According to ESPN Stats & Info, 12 of Savage's 13 pass attempts did touch a receiver's hands, but Texans receivers had only one drop, because some of those passes were broken up by Jaguars defenders or hits.

Watson, who tweaked his ankle in the game but was listed as a full participant at practice Tuesday, led the Texans down the field on his first NFL drive, throwing a 4-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Hopkins for the Texans' only points of their opener.

Savage has been the Texans' starting quarterback since they traded Brock Osweiler in March, even after Houston moved up in the first round to draft Watson.

"No one wants to be benched," Savage said Tuesday. "I want to go out there and play like I did and compete -- throw the ball to the playmakers and give them a chance. And that's it."

ESPN's Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.