Houston Texans: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Quarterback
By Bob Dove
In this scenario Brock Osweiler remains healthy and performs as a true franchise quarterback. Tom Savage establishes himself as the solid #2 quarterback. Brandon Weeden contributes as a veteran mentor and the glue in a solid quarterback room.
In reverse order of importance, Brandon Weeden competes hard for the #2 position, but when Savage outperforms him he gracefully accepts the #3 role. He is a steadying influence on the young quarterbacks and a solid contributor in the quarterback room.
This is an important training camp and preseason for Tom Savage. In shorts he appears to have much better command of the offense than in preseason 2015, and there has never been a question about his arm talent. In “The Good” he stays healthy and emerges as the #2 quarterback very capable of carrying the Texans if called upon. When he gets the chance Savage performs nearly as well as Osweiler having the coaches’ confidence and access to the full playbook.
Brock Osweiler has by far the most important role in determining the performance level of the quarterback position group. The Texans did their homework before signing Osweiler, and, despite his media critics, the Texans see him as a franchise quarterback. My game-by-game prediction is based on the expectation that Osweiler starts the season on the low end of the franchise quarterback scale and performs at that level throughout his first Texans season.
There is a reasonable chance that he exceeds my expectation. Clearly the Broncos saw him as the successor to Peyton Manning. Add that to the proven track records of the quarterback whisperers Bill O’Brien and George Godsey and an optimist can project a franchise performance from Osweiler in 2016, “The Good”.
When the quarterback group performs above expectations the offensive line performs better, or at least appears to be better. Sacks are down as the ball gets out quicker and is thrown away when all receivers are covered. There are more holes for the running backs as teams are reluctant to overload the line of scrimmage. Receivers have the opportunity to exploit their speed and benefit from the superior timing and accuracy that is characteristic of a true franchise quarterback.
With good quarterback play the defensive position groups have the freedom to turn up the pressure. That proves to be a high reward strategy as the potent offense makes the opponents’ infrequent big plays of little consequence. A true franchise quarterback keeps the defense fresh by keeping them off the field and out of short field situations.
As the quarterback group exceeds expectation it results in an offensive synergy that adds at least one regular season victory (11-5) and a deeper run in the playoffs. Don’t bet the ranch on this scenario, but I see it as the most likely alternative among “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.
Next: The Bad