The Houston Texans are once again heading into a playoff game with health concerns at the quarterback position for the second season in a row. As injury questions surround starter Tom Savage, who was knocked out of the game after a 4th and 1 sneak on Sunday, there has been no definitive answer on Savage’s situation other than he has a concussion.
With Brock Osweiler rested and coming in to put together three scoring drives in limited work, which quarterback will start on Saturday against the Oakland Raiders is still unknown.
“There’s a lot of different factors, obviously health is part of it. No question about it,” explained Bill O’Brien. “There’s a lot of different factors. We moved the ball well, Brock (Osweiler) did a nice job when he was in there. There’s a lot of different factors that go into it.”
The timing of Savage’s concussion comes at the wrong time, especially on a short week and since he has to clear the concussion protocol. With only five days between games, the Texans need to start on the game plan with a quarterback working on the field given it is almost impossible for Savage to clear the protocol in time.
O’Brien stated unequivocally, “I think it is important to get the reps in practice. No question.”
The entire situation is up in the air because in the concussion protocol, players can still practice. There is some rest needed before entering the steps to be cleared, but there is an outside chance he could be ready. In essence, while Savage could be getting reps on the field while in the concussion protocol, he would have to be cleared by an independent neurologist to be allowed to play in the game on Saturday.
With no injury report due today for the Texans because it is an off day, Monday becomes an important day in Savage’s recovery. So there is some gray area concerning the quarterback situation. Either way, it appears that it is truly a long shot that Savage gets on the field for Saturday. That too could leave Brandon Weeden backing up Brock Osweiler in the wildcard playoff game.
Lamar Miller has sat out the past two games with an ankle injury but he is set to be active for Saturday’s game against the Raiders.
“I think he’s feeling better. I think it’ll be great. It’ll be good to have him back,” said O’Brien on Monday. “He’s been a very productive player for us this year, so we’re looking forward to getting him back.”
Jadeveon Clowney was held out of last year’s playoff game due to a foot injury. He too will be making his first playoff appearance and O’Brien doesn’t want him to change anything he has been doing from the regular season.
“He has played well all year for us. He has been disruptive in the running game, he has been disruptive for us in the passing game. He has played very hard for us and he has done a lot of different things for us along the front."
There was a report from Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer on the possibility of Bill O’Brien moving on if the Texans falter in the playoffs. Rumors continue go swirl about struggles between O’Brien and the front office according to Mike Silver of NFL.com.
Trying to prepare for their opening wild card game, O’Brien addresed the situation.
“I mean, I don’t think about that,” said O’Brien of the report. “I just think about this team and concentrating on the Oakland game and how far we’ve come.”
O’Brien continued, “I don’t know - again, I don’t address those things. I just talk about where we’re at right now. I mean, I don’t even know if that’s even worthy of an answer.”
One thing to factor in is the fact that the Texans, if a coaching change does occur, would be dealing with that situation at the worst possible time. The large amount of vacancies around the league would leave the organization in a tough situation, getting a late start on the process.