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Texans' David Culley Reviews His Rookie: Sold on Davis Mills?

Houston Texans coach David Culley liked the rookie season of quarterback Davis Mills.

From one quarterback to another, David Culley has been impressed with the steady improvement of Houston Texans rookie Davis Mills.

There was a marked improvement in Mills' performances from the first half of the season to the latter, and one factor in Mills' growth, according to Culley, was the presence of veteran Tyrod Taylor.

"When he first came in here, having Tyrod who is a pro's pro at preparation and whatnot, he picked up on a lot of things about how to prepare," Culley said. "Being the first in [and] being the last out. Watching the video but understanding what you're watching in the video."

As the season progressed and he became more experienced, Culley believes Mills showed more comfort within and understanding of the system. Something Mills himself admitted to in an interview SportsRadio 610.

"The game started slowing down for me a little bit, and I was just able to really understand what we wanted to do on offense and since I knew our offense better I wasn't out there thinking as much, I was more so reacting to what the defenses were showing me so I was able to play faster that way," Mills said.

"Instead of trying to go out there and see everyone on the defense every play pre-snap, I'm able to know exactly what I need to look for coming up to the line...just really learning offense before making pre-snap checks is kind of the idea of deleting what you can from your memory bank or your active thought process."

The third-round pick out of Stanford went 2-9 as a starter, completing 263 of 394 attempts, for 2,664 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. 

Notable stats from Mills' rookie year:

*Set franchise record with 2,664 yards passing yards as a rookie, surpassing David Carr.

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*Three games with a passer rating over 125 - fourth-most by a rookie since 1950.

*Only rookie to pass for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in a single game - and he did so twice.

*More 300+ yard passing games than any other rookie.

*Led league on 20+-yard throws in passer rating.

However, stats can be - and often are - misleading. 

Yes, Mills showed flashes of potential. But at the end of the day, the Texans finished 4-13. They ranked 26th in passing yards and last in passing first downs. This wasn't all on Mills of course, and he wasn't helped by a run game that ranked last in both yards and touchdowns. But, clearly, Mills and this offense are far from where they need to be to truly compete.

"He has a calmness about him which I really like, and he understands that he has a long way to go, that we're not anywhere close to where he needs to be for us to be what we need to be, but he's progressing very nicely and he gets better and better," Culley said. 

But perhaps the most important step Mills has taken this year, is earning the trust and respect of the veterans around him. Multiple players have come out in support of Mills recently, something Culley reinforced.

"To get respect, you have to earn it," Culley said. "You earn it by scoring touchdowns. You earn it by taking care of the football. You earn it by doing the right things to help your team win football games. And he started to do that."