Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Texans are looking to Saturday night as an opportunity to see what 3rd-year quarterback Tom Savage has as a potential starting quarterback for the franchise. This comes after teh Texans thought they signed their franchise QB this offseason in Brock Osweiler. Osweiler was underwhelming for the team, throwing 14 TDs and 16 INTs in 13 games and 1-plus quarters. He wasn’t a losing quarterback, though, the team was 7-6 under his helm. But Tom Savage kept the Texans odds of making the playoffs a plus venture, coming in and throwing for 260-yards in a 21-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Despite the benching of Osweiler in his first year of a 4-year $72 million contract, 2-years and 36-million of that guaranteed, the Texans are still backing their now backup quarterback.
“We have not given up on Brock Osweiler and I told him that,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien told Mike Meltser and Seth Payne on Mad Radio on SportsRadio 610 on Wednesday morning. “I think Tom is spinning the ball pretty good and we need to move the ball and I think Tom gives us a chance to that this week and Brock needs to be ready to play.”
O’Brien talked to Meltser and Payne about a wide range of topics, including what the conversation with team owner Bob McNair was like when they realized the team needed to make the change to Tom Savage for Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Every conversation you have with your boss and your general manager starts with the truth,” O’Brien said. “You try make sure you listen to the question, you listen to the conversation, you do not interrupt when the boss is talking and then when it’s your turn to speak you tell the truth. These decisions are tough. It’s not about one guy, but (quarterback) is a very critical position but any conversation that happens in the organization I’ll keep between us but, Seth, the big thing is you can look at yourself in the mirror at night as long as you’ve spoken your mind and spoken the truth.”
There has been a lot of questions among the Texans fan base about how good Bill O’Brien, touted as a quarterbacks coach who was great with quarterbacks, and the rest of the front office actually are at evaluating quarterbacks. The Texans have started more quarterbacks, nine, than any other team since the 2013 season O’Brien took over.
“I understand that, Mike. I can’t control what people think,” O’Brien said about the questions to his ability to find the right quarterback for this team. “I know that the Houston fan base in a passionate one. I really love the fans here. They let you know when you’re not playing well and they let you know when you are playing well.
“One of our main motivations is to win a championship in Houston, we know how much that would mean to this city. Sometimes you make decisions that are good ones. Sometimes they’re ones that take a while to figure out if they are good or not. Every decision we make is in the best interest of the team and we are working hard to win a championship.”
Saturday the Texans can clinch the AFC South with a Titans losing to the Jaguars early Saturday and a win over the Bengals on Christmas Eve night. They will do that with Tom Savage starting, a decision O’Brien announced on Monday. On Wednesday he told Mad Radio what he likes about his newest starting quarterback.
“He has confidence in his arm. He’s got a good arm. He’s an accurate passer and he needs to just keep improving. That’s the big thing,” O’Brien said about the 4th round pick. “[He needs to] come in here (Wednesday) get the initial game plan take it out out to practice one play at a time. I think that is a big thing for Tom.”
The Texans quarterback play has not been the reason they are leading the division and on the verge of back-to-back division championships. It’s the Texans number one rated defense that has been carrying them. One of the leaders of that defense is the only Pro Bowl selection from the team, Jadeveon Clowney. O’Brien raved about the former number one overall pick.
“He’s a really good guy,” O’Brien said of Clowney. “He’s a fun guy to be around, he’s got a good personality. I think the thing that he’s dealt with early on, that a lot of young players deal with is how to adapt to pro football. The difference going from college football to pro football. The difference in strength, the difference in practice, the difference in the meetings. And then on top of that he had to deal with some injuries. I give the guy a ton of credit. I think the guy hung in there with some tough coaching. I think he’s got a great future.”
O’Brien also said Clowney has learned a lot from veterans like Brian Cushing and Vince Wilfork and has turned into a leader.