Houston Texans 2014 Preview: Offense

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Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks for an open receiver during the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With the departure of the three QBs of ’13, this season the depth chart begins with starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is coming off a season as the starting QB for the Tennessee Titans for 11 games (nine starts).

Fitzpatrick was 217-of-350 for 2,454 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Fitzpatrick was named the Texans’ starter in late May following the conclusion of mini camp.

He averaged 7.0 ypc with the Titans and was sacked 21 times.

Entering his 10th season, Fitzpatrick does provide a veteran presence under center for the Texans, but he’s not much of an improvement at QB over the three players who were signal callers in ’13 for the Texans.

Backing up the veteran signal caller will be two quarterbacks who have a combined four passing attempts during regular season play. The two reserve QBs are Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage.

Mallett just became a member of the Texans on Sunday as they acquired him for a seventh-round draft selection in ’16. He has four pass attempts for the New England Patriots in ’12 and didn’t attempt a pass at all last season as he sat (and hopefully) learned under future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady.

Drafted in the third round (74th overall) in ’11 by the Patriots, here is what the career line of Mallett looks like: 1-of-4 for 17 yards (4.25 ypc). Those yards came against the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 28.

Since he was drafted out of Arkansas in ’11, many folks believe he has the potential to be a starting QB in the NFL, and before the end of this season, I see him not only just making a start for the Texans, but playing his way into the starting role.

O’Brien and Mallett have one year of history together was he was the OC of the Patriots when Mallett was drafted, so it is safe to assume he knows a lot about the 6-6, 245-pound QB.

Mallett is still just 26 years old, healthy and has the tools to become a starter in the NFL. Now it is just a matter of whether he and the QB guru O’Brien can work their magic and make it happen in Houston.

The youngest QB on the roster is fourth-round rookie Tom Savage. Savage was drafted out of Pittsburgh as the 135th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6-4, 228-pound QB in his final preseason outing against the San Francisco 49ers was 8-of-12 for 43 yards and one interception.

Savage is a project for O’Brien this season to see if he can be groomed into a starting QB in the NFL. He has the potential to be a starting QB as he does have a strong arm, but will he eventually be able to put everything together to achieve the success to become an NFL starter?