Osweiler already had a good feeling about the Texans. However, he also understood that, because of timing, he’d never have a chance to meet with any of the team’s decision makers before potentially signing a deal. So he grinned as O’Brien pushed his team in the midst of grueling practices. He nodded in approval when the coach emphasized his lofty expectations. This was critical research for a player who already had quizzed former Texans and diligently studied the Houston offense because, as Osweiler recently said, “There was definitely a lot of faith involved in this.”
Faith truly is the operative word when assessing Osweiler’s presence in Houston. The Texans are betting a player who started all of seven games in four NFL seasons can be the answer to the endless quarterback problems that have plagued them for years. Osweiler is gambling that his career is better off with a franchise that has never moved beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs than it would have been with the reigning Super Bowl champions, a Broncos organization that gave him the chance to learn behind future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. It’s the kind of move that could propel the Texans toward a Super Bowl … or leave them wondering if they just landed their next Matt Schaub, a talented quarterback who made a couple Pro Bowls before his career eventually imploded.
The 23-year-old had just 47 catches on 92 targets last year but serves an important function in Bill O’Brien’s offensive scheme. The definition of a “burner,” Fuller was drafted in large part to take the top off opposing defenses, allowing for star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to pick apart the secondary on medium-range throws.
Now, Fuller’s main function will be rehab and cheap jerseys and recovery. With the severity of the break unknown, the date for Fuller’s eventual return is up in the air. Strengthening the healed area is just as important as letting it heal, with many football players trying to prevent a second break. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo famously broke his collarbone twice in a season back in 2015.
The endorsements don’t get much stronger than that of a team’s best receiver, who truly has caught passes from more hired guns than anyone (Around the NFL’s Marc Sessler listed them earlier this week). Savage has taken all of the first-team reps and seems to have a firm grasp on the starting job, but with Watson drawing rave reviews and O’Brien’s quarterback room long having a revolving door, a sudden change can’t be ruled out.
Savage is driven by an opportunity lost at the end of last season, as detailed in a piece written by NFL.com columnist Michael Silver, so he won’t be going down lightly, if at all. A Savage-led offense has been tougher on the Texans’ reigning top-ranked defense in camp than in previous years, Jadeveon Clowney told Silver this week. Hopkins was generous with his review of Savage in that piece, too.
The Texans are reportedly signing former Chiefs and Ravens offensive lineman Jah Reid, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
The Los Angeles Rams officially added defensive tackle Aaron Donald to the active roster. Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters Friday that Donald will get the start on Sunday against the Redskins, a week after he reported to the club following his holdout.
By all indications, Savage is having a strong summer. The fourth-year quarterback’s command of O’Brien’s offense has shown up on the practice field, where the Texans’ vaunted defense (the NFL’s top-ranked unit in 2016, even with star defensive end J.J. Watt sidelined for most of the season) isn’t manhandling the offense (ranked 29th last year) the way it has in past years.
“The offense is coming hard this camp; I can already tell they’re different,” defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said after Wednesday’s spirited practice, which featured so many skirmishes that O’Brien joined his players in running a punitive lap around the goal post because, he cracked, “I can’t control my team.”
While Watson’s accuracy was a concern for some scouts, not every pre-draft evaluation on him was entirely critical. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote an extensive scouting report on Watson in February. And while Brooks, a former NFL scout, expressed some reservations about Watson’s accuracy on deep throws, he also noted: “When he’s on his game, Watson can pick apart a defense with a surgeon’s precision as a rhythm thrower from inside or outside of the pocket.”
The Texans acquired Watson with the No. 12 overall pick of the draft, and traded up from the No. 25 selection to do so. Other pre-draft scouting concerns about Watson included his ability to transition to a pro-style system from Clemson’s spread attack, but O’Brien praised Watson’s grasp of the Texans’ offense, as well. He reiterated that third-year pro Tom Savage remains the club’s No. 1 quarterback for now, but said Watson’s ability to pick up the offense has been “better than any rookie I’ve been around.”