The Texans have several options at quarterback in 2014, but they decided to go with free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Houston held the number one overall pick in the draft, but passed on Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel. There were also options in free agency with names like Michael Vick and Josh McCown. The brain trust believed Matt Schaub wasn’t the direction they wanted to go and also didn’t feel safe going with Case Keenum, who started and lost eight games last season.
So why Ryan Fitzpatrick?
“We really liked his intelligence,” Bill O’Brien said during offseason workouts. “We liked the fact that he had played a bunch of football. We liked the fact that he had played football in a similar system.”
O’Brien made it clear several times after offseason workouts that the Texans' new offense would be complex at quarterback. Fitzpatrick went to Harvard, and has picked up on systems similar to O’Brien’s in the past. If Andre Johnson returns and Arain Foster stays healthy this could be an offense that has multiple weapons. Fitzpatrick just has to decide where the best place to go with the football while reading the defense before the snap.
“The main part about this system is really letting our playmakers make plays,” the nine year vet said the day he was named the starting quarterback. “I’ve kind of got the easy job if I can get in the right play.”
The game plan to bring in Fitzpatrick might also be because of who is behind him. The man behind the beard is another coach on the field to help guide rookie Tom Savage. The fourth round pick out of Pittsburgh has always been on O’Brien’s radar dating back to when the Texans head coach recruited Savage to play at Penn State when he was the man in charge of the Nittany Lions.
Savage has come into a situation where he has a head coach that has a strong history with quarterbacks. His position coach, George Godsey, was one of those quarterbacks O’Brien coached and in his own right is an up and coming quarterback mind. When you add Fitzpatrick to the mix, Savage can’t be in a better place to learn the position.
Tom Savage, who will be battling for the backup job against Keenum throughout training camp, is the most physically talented quarterback. He's 6-4, 228 pounds and has a rocket for an arm.
O’Brien believes Savage will be ready to takeover depending on how quickly he can pick up the offense. He's also not your average rookie. He's 24, not 21 like Manziel or Bridgewater. He did miss out on valuable collegiate snaps as he transferred twice and didn’t play all of 2011 and 2012.