It has been easy to become enamored with the 2017 crop of first-round rookie quarterbacks so far this preseason.
O'Brien confirmed his stance during an interview with reporters in Houston on Tuesday when he was asked if he could see himself playing both Savage and Watson in the same game but in different situations.
"Sure. I mean, I envision that, I can see that, but that's not the approach that we're taking. Tom's the starter. Tom's playing well this camp. Tom has really had a good camp. He's only thrown three incompletions in two games," O'Brien said. "He's really got good command of our offense, and like I've said, Deshaun is a very, very good, young player who has a great future in this league.
"I mean, let's put the cards on the table. That's what it is. But Tom has been here for four years. The way that we want to play, the style that we need to play relative to getting guys lined up, relative to cadence, relative to protection points and route reads and putting guys in the right spot, Tom's ahead of Deshaun on that."
I had a similar takeaway after watching Savage lead a touchdown drive against the Patriots this past weekend. His summer has been impressive for several reasons, but seeing his progression while watching him handle the ultimate inevitability of his long-term situation has really been something. Having just about the world's biggest distraction for a quarterback dropped into his lap -- the team drafting competition in the first round -- Savage parlayed the pressure into a good summer.
He is a better quarterback than the one who plodded to a 1-1 record in two relief appearances last year. In two preseason games thus far, Savage is 17 of 20 for 167 yards and a touchdown.
This preseason showed the Texans that Watson's time is certainly coming, but it also reaffirmed the stance of O'Brien, who wanted to start Savage in the first place. For now, any coach would take that kind of comfort.