O'Brien says Savage will start Saturday against Bengals
HOUSTON (AP) Tom Savage will start at quarterback for the Houston Texans on Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Coach Bill O'Brien announced the decision on Monday, a day after Savage took over in the second quarter when Brock Osweiler was benched against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
''We make decisions on what we think is the best way to help the team, what helps the team win,'' O'Brien said.
''And I think that yesterday and this week I feel like Tom Savage gives us the best chance to win. I'm going to give him a week to prepare as a starter and see what he can do for us on Saturday night against the Bengals.''
Savage threw for 260 yards to help Houston rally from a 13-point deficit for a 21-20 win in his first regular-season action since 2014.
''He threw the ball very accurately,'' O'Brien said. ''I thought he made the right reads. It wasn't perfect. There were some things he needs to improve on, but I thought he made some good throws, made some big throws, a couple on third down, a couple down the field.
''Some were caught, some weren't caught, but I thought they were in the right spot.''
O'Brien wouldn't say if he planned to start Savage for the rest of the season, saying the team is focused on the Bengals.
Osweiler has struggled in his first season in Houston after signing a $72 million contract to join the Texans from Denver.
He threw two interceptions before he was benched on Sunday to give him 16 interceptions and just 14 touchdowns this season.
O'Brien praised Osweiler for his work this season and how he handled the benching and talked about the difficulty of making the change.
''It's a hard thing to do as a coach,'' O'Brien said. ''That's what they pay me to do is to make decisions like this in the best interest of the team and that's what I'm trying to do. I think that it will help our team.''
O'Brien recounted his conversation with Osweiler when he gave him the news.
''He didn't say much,'' O'Brien said. ''I'm sure he didn't agree with the decision, but he's a pro. That's what he is. He's a pro football player and he understands that he's got to continue to compete, and he needs to be ready to play ... now he's in a similar situation that Tom (was) in. He's one play away. Got to be ready to go.''
Savage was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft and appeared in just two games that season.
In the first one he did not attempt a pass and in the second one he was 10 of 19 for 127 yards with an interception after taking over midgame when Ryan Fitzpatrick broke his leg on Dec 14.
But Savage injured his knee in that game and missed the last two games before suffering a shoulder injury the next preseason and missing all of the 2015 season.
''He's a very consistent person,'' O'Brien said. ''He's been the same guy as far as his personality and how he approaches his day to day workload since he arrived here.
''He's a hardworking guy. He's done a lot to work in the weight room to change his body. He's worked to get in better shape over the years. He's always trying to do something to prepare.''
When Savage starts on Saturday he will be the sixth quarterback that has started for Houston in the past two seasons after injuries and ineffective play forced the Texans to start four quarterbacks last season.
The Texans believed they had found the answer to their longtime woes at the position when they snagged Osweiler from Denver.
Now they're left with the league's most expensive backup and must figure out how they'll deal with him moving forward with three years left on his huge contract.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL .