Editor’s Note: Houstonsportsandstuff.com is helping sponsor a charity poker tournament at Whitmeyer’s Distillery at 6 p.m. on July 29. It benefits the Touchdown Club of Houston, and entry includes dinner from Demeris BBQ and beer from Karbach. There will also be access to all of the great Whitmeyer’s products. Snowman Poker League is running the event. Sign up using Paypal at touchdownclub.org. Space is limited so sign up now. It will be a great event for a great cause!
Another editor’s note: Houston Sports and Stuff is beginning its coverage of the Houston Texans 2017 season by breaking down all the position groups in an 8-part series leading up to the start of training camp.
In the first installment, we look at the Quarterbacks.
By BRIEN O’DONAL
Let’s start by stating the obvious: this is a position that needs more improvement than any other. Last year’s signing of Brock Osweiler turned out to be a bust. Luckily for the Texans; the Cleveland Browns needed draft picks and to eat up cap space. That trade was one of the most talked about moves made this offseason and it gave the Texans a chance to start fresh at the position. The bad part is that starting fresh at quarterback usually only works if the new player has proven himself prior to being thrust into the role.
There is only one player one the roster with significant starting experience, Brandon Weeden. A first round bust in Cleveland, he is on his third team entering his 7th year. It’s possible that he gives a strong showing in camp and might be an option simply because of that experience.
Weeden will have some tough sledding though, as Head Coach Bill O’Brien has already named Tom Savage the starter. Savage enters his third season in the NFL, all of them with the Texans, with a chance to prove his doubters wrong. He is 2-0 as a starter, but that is owed largely to having the league’s number one defense in 2016. He has yet to throw a touchdown pass and in five games played has only thrown for 588 yards. In his two starts last season he threw for 260 and 176 yards. That is barely good enough in today’s NFL.
Questions about Savage’s health have been an issue in prior years and shouldn’t be discounted, but it is his play that should be most concerning. The struggles of Brock Osweiler were obvious to anyone watching the Texans’ offense last year, yet Savage didn’t see the field until week 15. He was ahead of Weeden on the depth chart and got the nod but he was average at best and gained most of his yardage through short completions. That is simply not good enough.
That may be the reason they moved up 13 spots in the 2017 NFL Draft to select Deshaun Watson out of Clemson University. He comes into the league with an excellent college resume. He has two national championship game appearances, one of them a win on a last second touchdown. Per scouts, one of his greatest talents is his mental game and his composure under pressure. Coming into the 2017 NFL draft many regarded Watson as the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft class. Some thought that he should have been the first one taken, but luckily for the Texans, there were other quarterbacks selected before him. This allowed them to move into a position to get the player they wanted.
Quarterback will be one of the more fun positions to watch during training camp. There are three players that would seem to have an equal chance to win the starting job. According to the coaches, Tom Savage will be taking the majority of the first team reps but it is still a competition. As the days and weeks go by during the preseason a true starter will emerge. If you’re trying to determine who will be that player on week one, keep track of how many reps each player gets with the first team offense. Maybe it’s Savage, maybe it’s someone else.