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Texans to Brock Osweiler: Chill and throw to De'Andre Hopkins

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The Texans, from owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith on down, still believe in quarterback Brock Osweiler. They are being patient. The talent was there when they decided to give him a four-year, $72-million contract, and it hasn't dissipated.

But after a disastrous performance during a nationally televised loss to his old team the Broncos, Osweiler's play is in the spotlight. Although a quarterback change to promising backup Tom Savage isn't imminent or even being discussed, the Texans obviously want Osweiler to play better.

The early reviews have shown a tentative, cautious player still trying to find a comfort level with a new offense. It wasn't an easy transition in training camp, and it's still a work in progress. Too often, he's taken the sure completion rather than taking a chance and letting it fly.

The goal Sunday against the Lions will be for Osweiler to relax, take a deep breath and find a playmaker -- notably DeAndre Hopkins. Regardless of who has played at quarterback, Hopkins has previously thrived as a deep threat for the Texans. But with Osweiler, he's averaging a career-low 10.8 yards per catch with a long of just 35 yards.

That must change. Osweiler is being encouraged not to worry about whether Hopkins is open (he rarely looks like it but usually is). Just toss it up and watch one of the game's elite ballers. That will allow the Texans' best offensive player to show off.

That's one focus -- finding Hopkins. The other is avoiding what was an issue with the Broncos -- Osweiler must keep defenders guessing with his eyes.

The contract and the criticism appear to have gotten to Osweiler. He seems to be playing against himself as much as the opponent. When that happens, situations like his dropped snap against the Broncos happen. So much of the goal Sunday will be to chill and just play.

If that happens, perhaps the Texans will finally see the Osweiler they thought they signed.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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