HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — If Bill O’Brien had access to video on the sideline, who knows. Maybe Tom Savage never reenters the game last week after suffering a concussion.
Heading into this week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans head coach said allowing coaches to be able to see replays on the sideline would help keep players like Savage safe.
“I think if maybe if we can see that or maybe if there is a way to use the video in a better way, maybe that will help,” O’Brien said. “Because, again, like I said, if I had seen the reaction that he had to the hit, I would’ve personally, and Geoff Kaplan, the same thing, we would have never put him back in the game.”
It was one of the scariest moments of the NFL season, Savage laying on his back in the end zone after a hit by 49ers pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. Eyes in the back of his head. Fingers twitching.
But that image, which was picked up by the FOX broadcast and quickly made the rounds on social media, wasn’t available to O’Brien, any of his assistants or the team’s medical staff.
Per NFL rules, no one on the sideline is permitted to see any kind of video. Only still shots, and only on Microsoft Surface tablets.
Savage initially cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol, administered on the sideline in a tent, but O’Brien and team doctors demanded that he be brought back and checked again.
At that point, it was determined that Savage was concussed.
O’Brien also fired back at those critical of how he handled it.
“I heard somebody say this morning, something I was listening to this morning, that ‘Well, they have all these replay videos,” O’Brien said. “When Bill O’Brien said that he didn’t see the video, what the heck is he talking about?’ That’s coming from somebody who has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, and I’m so tired of hearing these people, whether they’re on the radio or on the TV that really have no idea. If you’ve never been on the sideline coaching a game or playing in a game, you really don’t have any idea. Nobody comes running up to me with the video of a player and how he’s reacting to getting hit in the head. That’s not the same thing as seeing a replay of a guy catching a ball on the sideline. That might be the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard.”
Savage, who’s suffered at least one other concussion in his NFL career, last season against the Tennessee Titans, is likely out this week, O’Brien said. Savage tweeted on Tuesday that he’s feeling better, and that O’Brien doesn’t deserve blame for what happened.
There’s a still chance Savage returns this season, O’Brien said.
“There’s always a chance for those things, yeah.”