Houston Texans: Two ways Tom Savage can still be a successful NFL QB

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Head Coach Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans talks to quarterback Tom Savage
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Head Coach Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans talks to quarterback Tom Savage /

The Houston Texans were able to eke out a win over the Arizona Cardinals this past Sunday and a lot of it was because Tom Savage found a way to be effective.  Let’s talk about what two things he needs to be successful.

The Houston Texans have come to grips that their savior at quarterback in Deshaun Watson will be on the shelf until the start of next season.  Since the show must go on, the team has turned back to Tom Savage, the guy they wanted to start this season but was benched for a variety of reasons.

It wasn’t pretty in Week 1 — Savage was well on his way to double-digit sacks and after the sixth one, Bill O’Brien pulled the plug and in came Watson to quickly guide the team to a score but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing 29-7.

After 7 1/2 fun-filled weeks of terrific offense, we all found out the inevitable that our chances of entering the postseason were likely when Watson’s knee decided to give way.  So now that we’re back to Savage, it’s understood that the offense is going to take a step back because Savage does not have the natural tools that Watson has.

But if Savage uses what God gave him, then I think he can be an effective quarterback in this league.  Yes, I know, the offensive line we have is straight hot garbage with the exception of Nick Martin.  But I honestly think that Chris Clark, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Breno Giacomini and Jeff Allen are giving all they have but it’s just not enough.

Watching Savage run is like watching paint dry which far from entertainment.  But there are two things that he needs to do to be effective:

1.) Get rid of the ball quicker.

The offensive line has done its best to keep the pocket intact but it won’t always be the perfect situation for him.  Since Week 9, Tom has steadily decreased his time to throw in the pocket.  In Week 9 against the Indianapolis Colts, he averaged 2.71 seconds to throw, Week 10 (2.44 seconds against the Los Angeles Rams), Week 11 (2.46 seconds against the Arizona Cardinals).  This has resulted in not only the pace of the offense picking up at times but giving him more opportunities to strike his prey as needed.

Sometimes things such as the turnovers — either by way of fumble or an interception as of late — are things that just happen because it’s football.  I think if he continues to hone on that, it will give this team as well as whatever team he ends up on after this season the best chance to win.

2.)  Stop being predictable.

Watson certainly has the wheels to be successful and we all know this but what about Savage?  Is there one go-to, signature move that he has that makes your jaw drop?  No!  It’s about time that he thinks about it.  He may not be able to run like a track star but I know he’s quick enough to run some play fakes.  Better yet, he can run some play-action passes.

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Hell, if Matt Schaub bootlegged his way to Pro-Bowl nomination, I know Savage can do the same thing!  That’s another asset that he can bring to the table each and every game.  But the fact that none of that is being run for Savage speaks to either O’Brien is not comfortable in adding that attribute to Savage’s workload or Tom himself just doesn’t want or can’t deal with it.

The first half of Sunday’s game against the Cards was abysmal for Savage.  Mental mistake after mistake continued to be made but it was in the second half where he took charge and was able to be a big key in getting the Houston Texans the W.  His performance of going 22-for-32 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 97.1 QB rating goes to show he can be even more successful if he focuses on the things that I’ve suggested.

Next: How the Texans should handle Bill O'Brien

We’ll have to see as the Houston Texans have about five more weeks of football left before calling it a season.  How they make the best it rests a lot on Savage’s shoulders.  Will he overcome the challenges?  We’re about to see that.

Let’s hope for the best — go Texans.