Following the Houston Texans' draft, head coach Bill O'Brien indicated that all four of his quarterbacks on the roster, including former Pitt star Tom Savage, was in contention for the team's starting job at quarterback. In the time after that, O'Brien later seemed to dismiss the notion that Savage could begin the season as the starter.
I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, but now it's official - Houston is going with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. O'Brien said the issue for Savage and the others was about consistency:
"With all three of those guys we need just a little bit more consistency," O'Brien said. "It has nothing to do with effort or work ethic. Those guys have all worked extremely hard. They've all done what we've asked them to do."
Nothing about the move is surprising, to be honest. The NFL is a 'win now' deal for head coaches much of the time and O'Brien went with the guy that he feels is capable of winning the most this season.
The interesting thing is how this move will be taken by Texans' fans, many of whom wanted Case Keenum. The decision doesn't speak to the future. At all. While that's encouraging to a degree in that the team wants to win now, if Fitzpatrick isn't a long-term solution, it really just delays the team's need to find their next franchise quarterback. Savage not starting is expected, but playing a young guy with some upside like Keenum could give them the opportunity to find out what they truly have with him. That now gets put on hold.
In addition, as this writer notes, the move was made rather quickly. If the competition was really to be an open one, naming a starter on the first day of mandatory practices makes that seem like it wasn't truly the case. There was no rush here, so O'Brien very clearly had it in mind that Fitzpatrick was going to be his guy. There wasn't anything inherently wrong with that, but it seemed to go against what he said initially.
One thing helping Savage's cause, though, is that the team released T.J. Yates - a guy that could have battled Savage for the third-string job. As the third quarterback on the roster now, it's practically a given that he will make the squad. And if Fitzpatrick is ineffective (which, at times, he's been), Savage could get playing time sooner rather than later.
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