QB Notebook: Texans throw playbook at Tom Savage


The Texans have four quarterbacks. They plan to keep three. That means someone's about to hit the breadline.

Longtime Houston Chronicle beat writer John McClain predicts the odd man out will be T.J. Yates.

Despite winning the franchise's first playoff game and once being hailed as an heir apparent to Matt Schaub, Yates sat and watched last season as Case Keenum threw seven touchdowns to zero interceptions in his first three starts before Houston's season tipped off a cliff.

With free-agent addition Ryan Fitzpatrick in the driver's seat to guide Bill O'Brien's offense, we like rookie Tom Savage's chances to make this team ahead of Yates. As McClain notes, though, Houston also looms as a possibility to cut a pair of passers if a proven veteran is released by another team.

More signal-caller news from around the league:

» One last nugget from Texans country, where position coach George Godsey says "we're not holding much back from" Savage. We're putting him in difficult situations and if he does make a mistake, we slow it down on tape, slow it down in the meeting room, and then give him the same situation the next day. Tom's done a good job of trying to handle those things throughout the nine days of practice."

Savage "looks more like a starting NFL quarterback than the others," wrote Stephanie Stradley of the Chronicle. "Nice mechanics. The ball comes out like a rope, even in bad windy conditions. He can make all the throws, and has the strongest arm I've seen in a Texans camp."

We're sticking to the prediction Chris Wesseling made last month: Savage will make his first NFL start before the year is out.

» We also expect to see Blake Bortles this season.

While the Jaguars are hinting at a redshirt campaign for the No. 3 overall pick, Bortles impressed his coaches completing 13 of 15 passes during Thursday's session. Numbers in June? Ultra meaningless. But with seven receivers missing during practice this week, coach Gus Bradley praised his rookie passer's "poise" running the offense.

» One week after NFL Media's Albert Breer reported that rookie Derek Carr will wind up pushing Matt Schaub for the Raiders' starting job, Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson repeated those sentiments Thursday, saying of Carr: "He is very intelligent, and he may not need to redshirt. We like his comfort level. Right away, you can see that this is not too big for him."

» Before landing with the Seattle Seahawks, former Vikings defensive lineman Kevin Williams slammed Christian Ponder and told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday that "there's a good chance" Teddy Bridgewater could beat out veteran Matt Cassel for Minnesota's starting job under center.

We're not taking Kevin's word for it, but practice observers have noted Bridgewater's accuracy during offseason sessions. The Star Tribune reported this week that Teddy already appears to be ahead of Ponder on the depth chart. The rookie also went three full open practices before throwing his first interception in front of the media on Wednesday. 

» While Josh McCown is "Making The Leap" in Tampa, his brother is fighting for a roster spot in New Orleans. Luke McCown confirmed Friday that practice snaps have been "split down the middle" with Ryan Griffin in the fight to backup Drew Brees, per The Times-Picayune. In his second season out of Tulane, Griffin "turned plenty of heads" at Saints practice this week, slinging four consecutive touchdowns during a red-zone drill.

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