Let’s be honest, the quarterback situation in the Houston Texans’ camp is a bit of a mess. Head coach Bill O’Brien recently announced that veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick has won the starting job. Following the move, the Texans cut third-year player TJ Yates. That leaves Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage vying for back-up roles on the team.
Fitzpatrick was acquired by the Texans in the offseason after being released by the Tennessee Titans. He signed a two-year deal for $7.5 million with $4 million of that money guaranteed. Seems like a steep price to pay for a seventh-round pick who is more suited for a back-up role. Sure, he started nine games for the Titans last year and has 77 career starts since 2005, most notably in his four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
Out of the three QBs currently on the roster, the move to start Fitz certainly makes sense. After the release of Matt Schaub, the Texans obviously felt their needs were addressed at the position. This was evident in the 2014 draft when the team didn’t select a quarterback until late in the fourth round. That pick was Tom Savage.
There was plenty of pre-draft hype surrounding Savage, who actually transferred colleges twice, eventually playing the 2013 season at Pittsburgh. Savage is a tall, big-armed pocket passer and could be developed over time into an NFL quarterback. His lack of college playing time could be a hinderance, though. An astonishing 1,022 days passed between his last game at Rutgers in 2010 and his first game at Pitt in 2013.
And then there was Case Keenum. Keenum stepped into the merry-go-round of starting quarterbacks for the Texans in 2013, posting a 78.2 passer rating and tossing nine touchdowns. Undrafted out of Houston, Keenum is the NCAA's all-time leader in total passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. At just 6’0”, the knock on Keenum is his size which is small for a starting NFL quarterback.
The good news is that the Texans can only improve on their disastrous 2013 season. A new head coach, the number one overall pick in the draft and a favorable schedule should breathe new life into the franchise. And let’s not forget, O’Brien knows how to run an offense from his experience with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. The bad news is Fitzpatrick is no Brady. A tough comparison, but the truth nonetheless.
For now, there will be no quarterback controversy in Houston, with Fitzpatrick named the starter even before training camp begins. "He earned it with his preparation," O'Brien said. "He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command at the line of scrimmage.
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