Houston Texans: Quarterback battle breakdown, 2017 edition

May 23, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage (3) walks with the ball during OTA practices at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage (3) walks with the ball during OTA practices at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans have a plan at quarterback, but a battle still persists for the 2017 NFL season. Will the rookie win the job for this potential playoff team? Should he?

NFL OTAs have wrapped up. Training camps start later this summer. We are officially out of the offseason and into the preseason. With that, it is time to speculate wildly on everything from depth charts to position battles to standings to signings.

Related Story: Denver Broncos Quarterback Battle Breakdown

We debated quarterback battles in Cleveland, Chicago, and Denver, as well as Cincinnati‘s running back battle. Now we turn to the Houston Texans, who have a plan for the future, but an unclear outlook for the coming season. Which quarterback can lead Houston back to the playoffs?

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss the Houston Texans in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Houston Texans QB Contenders

Tom Savage
Deshaun Watson
Brandon Weeden


Todd Salem: Tom Savage started two games for Houston last year before getting hurt. He was fine, but head coach Bill O’Brien moved on anyway. Savage enters the preseason this year as the team’s number-one quarterback. He has experience in the system and a little playing time under his belt where he didn’t completely fail.

Brandon Weeden also has NFL experience, but he completely failed. He isn’t a true contender in this quarterback battle. Rookie Deshaun Watson is though. The Texans spent draft capital to trade up to acquire Watson, believing he is the future of the franchise.

Dan Salem: The Houston Texans are coming off three-straight winnings seasons and five in the last six years. They have made the playoffs the last two years, yet have not had double digit victories since the 2012 season. Their leading passer was different every year since Matt Schaub lost the team. Houston needs consistency at quarterback, because its been winning in spite of their signal caller.

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Texans fans are preparing for a year to regroup, but let’s be realistic. Even though the team drafted a rookie quarterback, they won the division in 2015 and 2016 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs last year without JJ Watt or a reliable quarterback. This team is gunning to win their division yet again and truly compete with the likes of New England in the AFC. Choosing Watson or Savage is one of the toughest decisions facing a team this preseason.


Todd Salem: I am going against the grain on this selection. Hear out my logic. Despite Savage being number one on the depth chart right now, I think Watson is named starter by Week 1. He seems like the personality that could win over a locker room in training camp and during the simplicity of preseason. However, Savage starts more games by year’s end!

Though Watson can grab the team early, his proclivity for mistakes, weaker-than-elite throwing arm, and inexperience will submarine his game. I don’t see how Houston, who considers itself a legitimate Super Bowl contender, can start Watson 16 times. I don’t see it. Savage is brought in and grabs the reins. He is the one who brings the Texans to the finish line.

Dan Salem: Tom Savage looked decent last year for Houston, but he’s never thrown an NFL touchdown. His QBR was bad, despite an adequate completion percentage. The biggest star on Savage’s resume is a lack of interceptions. He tossed none last season. He may know the offense, but I’d be shocked if he wins this starting job. Brandon Weeden also must become an entirely new player in order to win this thing. Both of them are destined to be backups for Houston this year.

The starting quarterback job goes to Deshaun Watson. He wins it in August and keeps it all season, barring an injury. The Texans can win even if Watson throws interceptions and makes mistakes. They proved that last year. I believe their division is now more challenging and I don’t think Watson will take the NFL by storm in his rookie year. But he’s going to be a solid pro quarterback and is the best option to play for this football team.

Next: NFL Quarterback Power Rankings: Post-OTAs version

Replacing Watson with Savage in the middle of the season would be a huge mistake. Unless its obvious that Watson can not run the offense, let him build confidence instead of taking it away. Let him work through his mistakes on the field. Houston’s defense is good enough. I believe the Texans can win with a rookie quarterback. They have the weapons around him. They went all in on Watson at the NFL Draft. Don’t take it back.