QB Tom Savage sets ego aside seeking Texans backup spot
HOUSTON (AP) Before all the offseason renovations and before Brock Osweiler became the new hope for the Texans' offense, a different quarterback sought that job.
Tom Savage wanted to be the starter and thought he'd get that opportunity. That changed with the arrival of Osweiler in free agency, but Savage is not pouting about it. In fact, he has tried to help.
''Coach is going to make decisions,'' Savage said. ''He's got to feed his family as well. He's going to do whatever he thinks is best for this team. I can't worry about that. I have to go to there and try and make this team as good as possible, and make the team, to be honest with you.''
Savage is competing to be the backup quarterback, and as he does it, he said he has put any ego completely aside. He's sharing what he knows with Osweiler and his knowledge has helped the starting quarterback in his quest to learn his new offense quickly. Even without being the starter, Savage is helping to stabilize a position that's been volatile in Houston for several years.
''It takes a while for that position,'' coach Bill O'Brien said. ''The only thing Tom needs is an opportunity. Tom is a good football player and he's put a lot of time in to get to where he is right now.''
Savage came to the Texans as a project, a fourth-round pick, 135th overall, out of Pittsburgh.
He backed up Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Mallett during the 2014 season. He played only once, entering a game against the Indianapolis Colts because Fitzpatrick broke his leg. He struggled, and spent the offseason haunted by his performance. Savage also suffered a knee injury in that game.
He entered the 2015 offseason ready for another chance, this time backing up Brian Hoyer and Mallett. But Savage suffered a shoulder injury and went on season-ending injured reserve before Week 1.
His shoulder actually healed long before the season ended, but injured reserve meant Savage wasn't available. He watched as the Texans needed four different starting quarterbacks to get through the season. And when that season ended with a 30-0 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Savage declared his intention to be the Texans' starter in 2016.
''They can draft 12 quarterbacks,'' Savage said in January. ''I am going to be ready to go. . I am not up there (in the front office). I don't make those decisions. So all I can do is be ready to compete.''
Two months later, the Texans dealt Savage another blow by signing Osweiler. But when Osweiler invited him to Arizona for a set of player-led workouts with their receivers, Savage didn't hesitate to accept.
''I'm a Houston Texan; I want this team to win,'' Savage said. ''So I'm going to do whatever I can to help out, whether that's go out there and talk with him, talk some shop, give him little tidbits about the offense, or go out there and play a game.''
He joined receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, Keith Mumphery and Jaelen Strong for workouts at Arizona State. More than any of the receivers could, he helped Osweiler get a head start on the intricacies of the Texans' offense.
''He's a guy that you want in your corner,'' Osweiler said. ''I really can't say enough. Tom is a tremendous teammate.''
The simple fact that he could help a newcomer showed progress in his understanding of the offense, and that work continues now.
NOTES: Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney missed his third consecutive day of practice on Tuesday. ''Just giving him a couple days off,'' O'Brien said. ''I wouldn't make too much of it.'' Clowney has been hampered by injuries since entering the NFL. He had groin surgery in June of 2014, a month after being drafted first overall, then a concussion during that year's training camp that caused him to miss two preseason games. He suffered a lateral meniscus tear in the Texans' season opener, and that injury required arthroscopic knee surgery and then microfracture surgery. In 2015, Clowney missed games with ankle, back and foot injuries. The foot injury, a Lisfranc sprain, caused him to miss the Texans' regular-season finale and their playoff game.