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Mike Meltser’s Video Analysis of Tom Savage

by MIKE MELTSER, SportsRadio 610
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(Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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It’s very difficult to analyze a player using broadcast TV copy, but I wanted to create a post to give fans a sense of new Texans QB Tom Savage. Thanks to Draft Breakdown for the videos.

I will preface these clips by saying that they will only give a synopsis of Savage’s game. We don’t know the Pittsburgh offense, which receivers are open, and how well or poorly he handles adjustments/reads at the line of scrimmage.

Accuracy

I’ve always believed that the most important attribute of a quarterback is accuracy, and putting the football in the right spots. Savage’s general summary (tall, big-arm) may indicate someone who struggles in this department. I was actually consistently impressed with his ability to hit WRs, TEs, and RBs within 5 yards or even behind the line of scrimmage. Savage usually gave his weapons a chance to run with the football after the catch.

This was just a pretty play all-around. Savage wasn’t flustered at all by the pressure up the middle (usually deadly for QBs), and he was able to hit his target in stride while on the run. I have to figure these flashes were pretty appealing to Bill O’Brien.

Inconsistency

Despite his talents, Savage did miss the types of throws that will be costly in the NFL. Here are two examples against Florida State and Miami:

I agree with Jesse Palmer that Savage had an opening against FSU, but the low throw created the INT chance for Terrence Brooks. The Miami clip showed a lack of execution (on that play) in reading the defense and seeing the RB out in the flat.

Play-making Ability

All quarterbacks must have the ability to create plays out of chaos, at least to some extent. Savage has limited athleticism, so this is an interesting dynamic to watch. Here’s a nice play he created out of the pocket against Miami:

I liked that he was able to spin out of traffic and hit the WR in bounds.

NFL Throws

This is the fun part of watching some of Savage’s games. The ability to drop back from center and deliver strikes to closely-covered wide receivers on a rope. Here is the Pitt QB delivering an out pattern against Syracuse:

Everything about this plays screams NFL ability. Savage delivers that pass without any hesitation, despite intense pressure right in his face. The throw itself was on the money. Some other QBs in the draft that are more highly regarded than Savage, like Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, frequently had mechanical breakdowns under pressure.

That was against a loaded Florida State defense, throwing against 2nd round pick Lamarcus Joyner. I will save the best clip for last:

Savage launched that pass from the 32 yard line, and hit WR Devin Street on the run, over a few defenders, at the 8 yard line. That’s about a 60 yard throw against elite competition. Obviously, Savage wasn’t routinely doing that every week. Otherwise, he would have been drafted far higher than the fourth round.

Overall

I was impressed by a bunch of Savage’s games, but do have a lingering concerning thought. He clearly has a big arm, high-level throwing ability, and the willingness to stay in the pocket. This is more of an intangible thing, but I didn’t get the feeling that Savage lifted Pitt on his shoulders. He wasn’t the sun in the center of a solar system, like Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville or Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. Savage was a cog on a 7-6 football team. He’s also 24 years old, which makes you wonder how high the upside is.

Ultimately, I believe Savage is worth the “gamble” as a fourth round pick, especially considering the low ceilings on the quarterbacks the Texans have on the depth chart. We’ll see what kind of magic O’Brien can work.

Mike Meltser can be heard on MaD Radio from 10am-2pm

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