Savage ‘closed the gap’ in backup QB race

Savage ‘closed the gap’ in backup QB race
August 24, 2014, 3:15 pm
Share This Post

Tom Savage isn’t ready for his induction into the Hall of Fame. He’s not going to the Pro Bowl or even ready to overtake Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter.

But he is closer to taking the Texans’ backup job from Case Keenum after his performance on Saturday night against the Broncos.

“I would say that’s pretty close,” head coach Bill O’Brien said about the backup quarterback competition in Houston. “You know, I think that’s pretty close. We’re discussing that right now. I think both guys had good moments last night but I think Tom Savage definitely closed the gap and it’s pretty close.”

Savage, the fourth-rounder from Pittsburgh, completed 5-of-6 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown as he led the Texans' to an 18-17 win in the fourth quarter.

He did some really good things on Saturday but O’Brien made sure to pump the breaks a little bit.

“But again now, let’s be real clear here now,” O’Brien said. “He’s got a long way to go. We’re not headed for Hawaii and the Pro Bowl now. We’re talking about battling for the No. 2 job. I would say that Keenum’s still 2 but Tom … it’s a good, tight race between two really good guys, competitive guys.”

O’Brien even joked that one reporter would have Savage going to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio after winning a preseason game against the Broncos.

But Savage was good on Saturday and has put up very solid numbers throughout the preseason. He has now completed 11-of-14 attempts for 90 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 117.3. He has played less than Keenum and Fitzpatrick in the first three preseason games so the final preseason game on Thursday could go a long way in deciding the backup job.

It wasn’t just that Savage made the throws on Saturday, it was that he showed poise, even when he got his team lined up and ran the two-point play that won the game after driving the team down the field for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

When asked what good things Savage did on Saturday, O’Brien pointed to things like getting the calls right, lining the team up correctly, identifying the coverage and getting the snap count right. O’Brien said he’s seen improvement from Savage in that area.

But O’Brien isn’t surprised about that. When he and quarterbacks coach George Godsey met with Savage in the pre-draft process, they were able to show him his college film and Savage could remember the play, routes and situations. And then the Texans tested him on some of the things they do in their offense and Savage did well.

“We knew that there was a good chance there that he was going to be able to come in here and learn because he was a bright guy,” O’Brien said.