Former Pitt quarterback Tom Savage hasn't had a seamless transition to the NFL. Savage was knocked out of the quarterback competition pretty early. He got off to a rocky start in training camp and has been up and down in his first two preseason games.
Savage, though, is hanging in there and the rookie turned in a strong performance in the' third preseason game against the , leading his team to a comeback win. In the game, Savage led the winning touchdown drive with under five minutes to go, tossing a 31-yard strike for a touchdown. He followed that up by passing for a two-point conversion to provide the winning score of 18-17.
Overall, Savage threw for only 68 yards. However, he was 5-6, had a passer rating of 153.5, and of course, had the winning touchdown drive and ensuing two-point conversion.
Someone took notice - and thankfully for Savage, it was the person that mattered most ... head coach Bill O'Brien. Heading into the game, Savage was the third-string quarterback. But O'Brien says he is closer to seizing the backup job to starter Ryan Fitzpatrick:
"I would say that’s pretty close," head coach Bill O’Brien said about the backup quarterback competition in Houston. "You know, I think that’s pretty close. We’re discussing that right now. I think both guys had good moments last night but I think Tom Savage definitely closed the gap and it’s pretty close."
"He's been getting better every week and every day in practice," O'Brien said. "We put him in a few two-minute situations in practice, but not nearly as much as Ryan and Case, obviously."
"Overall he's come in and not let the nerves get to him," O'Brien said. "He's improved everyday. Hopefully, he continues to get better."
As a whole, Keenum has gotten a lot more work than Savage in the preseason. Savage is 11-14 for 90 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. Keenum is 20-35 for 184 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception.
It should go without saying, but the difference between the backup job and the third-string job is astronomical. Savage would have a much better chance of getting the game as the backup, even if Fitzpatrick doesn't suffer an injury. The rookie could find himself in the game if the Texans are involved in a blowout.
He also might get onto the field if Fitzpatrick struggles and that's not a reach by any means. He had a solid 2012, but for most of his career, has been an extremely average quarterback. his career TD/INT ratio is practically 1:1 and last year, he had 12 picks to only 14 interceptions.
In addition, Fitzpatrick hasn't had a great preseason. Overall, he's 25-43 for 232 yards with one touchdown to two interceptions. Those numbers aren't absolutely terrible, but Houston would surely like to have gotten more out of him to this point.
If Savage gets the backup job, he'll almost surely get onto the field at some point this season. The chance for significant playing time would exist as well.
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