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Texans GM Nick Caserio Details Offseason Progress of QB Davis Mills

Mills showed promising flashes as the starter last season, but still has a lot to prove in year two

It wasn't exactly smooth sailing for rookie quarterback Davis Mills and the Houston Texans early last season. 

Tyrod Taylor's hamstring injury in Week 2 quickly thrust the third-round pick out of Stanford into the starting spot, but it took a little while for Mills to adjust. He failed to top 200 passing yards in each of his first three appearances, which included an abysmal 87-yard, four-interception outing in a 40-0 Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills. 

But even as Houston endured a nine-game losing streak, Mills showed in flashes that he could be the signal-caller of the foreseeable future for the Texans and general manager Nick Caserio. He went 21-29 passing for 312 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks against the New England Patriots and an elite Bill Belichick-led defense in a Week 5 loss. 

Even after Taylor returned from injury in Week 11 to help lead Houston to a 22-13 upset on the road over AFC South rival and the eventual top-seeded Tennessee Titans, Mills had shown enough for the franchise to put its trust in him. 

As the offseason has progressed, the young quarterback is reportedly making impressive strides. Caserio went into detail about Mills' progression during an appearance on Sports Radio 610 Thursday. 

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“Overall I would say from he was, call it a year ago, to where he is now, he’s certainly a lot further along,” Caserio said. “So, I think the preseason and the training camp will be another opportunity, not only for him, but the whole team to see if we can kind of build on some of the things that we’ve done here over the last however many weeks it’s been.”

Caserio says maturity and poise have also been a noticeable addition to Mills' overall growth. His character was never in question as a surprisingly stable rookie last season, but the ability to move on from mistakes that plagued Houston's offense in 2021 is promising. 

“I would say the one thing that’s been consistent relative to his personality and his demeanor if regardless of what happens on a play good or bad, it’s just kind of on to the next play,” Caserio said. “He really doesn’t let that ruffle him, which I would say is a good quality as a player because, look, there’s 70 plays that happen during the course of a game. So, you’re going to run a play, and then you’re going to go to a next play. So, what happened two or three plays ago honestly it doesn’t really matter. What matters is can you focus on what your job is, what you have to get accomplished on that particular play regardless of the situation.”

Caserio has now surrounded Mills with a new coach in Lovie Smith and a talented group of rookies on offense. First-round Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green is set to help remedy the 31 sacks in 13 games that Mills endured last season, while Alabama receiver John Metchie III could be a top target for the quarterback once he's back healthy from a torn ACL.

The Texans also signed fourth-round Florida running back Dameon Pierce to a four-year, $4.5 million deal, proving the team is invested in providing Mills and the offense with hope for next season and beyond. Next month's training camp should be an exciting one. 

Houston will see how everything comes together in Week 1 when the Texans host the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 11. Mills struggled against the Colts in two meetings last season, going a combined 35-57 passing for 292 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks.