Did the Houston Texans screw up Davis Mills’ progress with firings?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans may have just impacted the career trajectory of Davis Mills.

When both David Culley and Tim Kelly were fired on Thursday, one of the players who now has the most to lose is Davis Mills. It’s well known that coaching instability often ruptures a quarterback’s progress- especially if it’s after their rookie season.

One could argue that Kelly was holding Mills back by being so safe in his playcalling you’d think he was walking on eggshells. The other side of that argument was that Mills came out of college a year early and that he was never ready to play in the NFL (as evident by his 0-7 start to the season).

Thankfully, a study was done by CBS a few years ago that we can reference and see what kind of situation Mills is in and how he might progress.

It’s important to note that this study included data from 2008 through 2017 and included passers who threw over 200 attempts in year one and 100+ attempts in year two. Since Mills hasn’t played his second year, that puts him into the following company:

  • “Matthew Stafford, Matt McGloin, DeShone Kizer, and Jimmy Clausen”

This technically also qualifies Mills into the following list as well:

"12 quarterbacks who hit the pass attempt thresholds experienced an offensive coordinator change after their rookie season:Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky, Jared Goff, Andrew Luck, Mike Glennon, Sam Bradford, Brandon Weeden, Blaine Gabbert, Nick Foles, Colt McCoy"

Houston Texans must take care of Davis Mills if he is deemed the franchise QB

The above group did not fare very well except for Matthew Stafford, but even Stafford’s success has been sparse. Andrew Luck performed well until the Colts’ offensive line virtually forced a shocking retirement. As for the rest of the study and how it turned out, Mills could be actually benefitting from an OC change.

CBS’ study showed that an OC change increased the following metrics:

  1. Touchdown percentage
  2. Yards per attempt (YP/A)
  3. Passer rating
  4. Total quarterback rating (QBR)

The only categories that benefitted from not switching OC’s were completion and interception percentage. 

This is interesting for Mills’ case, even though he’s not a perfect fit in the criteria. However, the inferences made from the study gives Houston Texans fans some hope to cling to. First, Mills made considerable progress throughout the season. By the time the final four games rolled around, you saw the maturation process be expedited and that he was comfortable playing at the NFL level.

If Mills can be seen as the “guy” for whoever Houston decides is their next head coach, then the numbers look pretty good. However, improving the offensive line and not handcuffing Mills will be critical to his development.

Next. Who should the Texans interview for the head coaching job?. dark