Coming into the 2016 season, there are plenty of Texans with something to prove. Chief among them is new starting quarterback Brock Osweiler.
After backing up Peyton Manning in Denver, Osweiler took his talents to Houston after winning the Super Bowl last year with the Broncos. He is one of a select few starters in the NFL with a Super Bowl ring, joining Tom Brady, Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.
The expectation is that he will bring a Super Bowl to Houston. Maybe not immediately, but with the surrounding talent in Houston the expectations are high. The Texans trusted the small sample size of Osweiler’s starting experience enough to give him a four year, $72 million contract. Of course, quarterbacks get more expensive every year so if he pans out it could be a bargain, if not then it becomes just another free agent bust along the lines of Matt Flynn.
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When Osweiler replaced Manning last season, he was uneven. He spurred a comeback in the fourth quarter against the Patriots that allowed Denver to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs and made the Patriots return to Denver for the AFC Championship Game. But he was also so bad against the 4-11 Chargers in week 17 that Manning replaced him in the second half, and led the Broncos to the win that sealed home field.
His overall numbers look okay with 10 touchdowns to just six interceptions and a 61.8 completion percentage. But five of the eight games he appeared in he averaged under seven yards per attempt. He threw a lot of low risk passes and checkdowns, and Gary Kubiak‘s offense is more quarterback friendly than most. Coming into a more complex system that Bill O’Brien features, there will be a steep learning curve for Osweiler. The good news is that like in Denver, he won’t have to throw 40 times a game to win. He can rely on the defense, not turn the ball over and hit DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller for a few big plays each week and be fine.