By Nick Shook
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Based on the tone of the Houston Texans owner on Wednesday, it looks like the lion is no longer standing in front of his expensive cub.
“We need much better performance out of that position,” McNair told reporters Wednesday of the Texans‘ quarterback situation. “Not much available out there.”
McNair isn’t wrong about either point. Houston was a team with the best defense in the league in yards allowed per game (301.3, and that was without superstar defensive end J.J. Watt), but was hampered offensively by the quarterback position and the repeated struggles of Osweiler. The lanky, slow-footed quarterback was errant and often appeared uncomfortable in the pocket, causing frequent frustration among those watching Houston trudge its way to low-scoring wins.
It eventually became bad enough at one point for coach Bill O’Brien to ignore the Texans‘ expensive investment in Osweiler in order to preserve O’Brien’s job and the team’s playoff hopes. He turned to unheralded backup Tom Savage, who led Houston back to a win over Jacksonville in his first appearance out of the bullpen (no pun intended). That qualified Savage for the starting job, but the experiment ended when Savage suffered a concussion in Week 17.
Houston was forced to turn back to the semi-wealthy backup, who was serviceable in a playoff win over Oakland. However, the Osweiler we all knew returned in the Texans‘ Divisional Round loss to New England. The ultimate outcome of this quarterback carousel has McNair wanting to see more, but also from Savage, who McNair says he wants to see compete for the job.
McNair then doubled down on the pressure placed on Osweiler by saying the quarterback needs to step up and adding that the team likely will go for a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
So much for that $72 million deal.
McNair is right, though. There isn’t much out there. We’re going to spend the coming months talking about teams potentially trading for Jimmy Garoppolo or AJ McCarron, and selecting from a myriad of quarterbacks that include Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and (my sleeper pick!) Division II standout Antonio Pipkin from Tiffin University.
There’s also the question of where Tony Romo, hottest trade piece of 2017, will land. Some think it will be Denver. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said it won’t be Houston, which explains why McNair is looking inside and out for an option in case Osweiler doesn’t improve.