And now with Hamilton set to take the reins as offensive coordinator this season, Mills and the rest of a young Texans offense are excited to learn under a coach that seems to be one of the favorites for the players.
“He’s just a great coach all together,” Mills told Texans Wire. “He’s been in the position and done it at a high level for a long time and been around some great quarterbacks and helped them become great quarterbacks. He played quarterback himself and will still come out and sling the ball around at practice to show us what needs to be done.”
Hamilton is on his seventh team in the NFL and could serve as a terrific guide for Mills, given his deep experience with the quarterback position. He got his playing career started at signal-caller for Howard University in 1993 before taking on the role of coaching his former position for his alma mater in 1997.
“He wants the best out of us and we push him as well to give us his best everyday," Mills said. "We’re all pretty tight in the QB room and we’re excited to see what’s next this year.”
In the NFL, Pep's coached quarterbacks like Chad Pennington, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, Brian Griese and Justin Herbert. But there's one that stands out, particularly with how it pertains to Mills.
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Hamilton's connection with Mills runs deeper than most might think. He arrived at Stanford, Mills' alma mater, in 2010 as the receivers coach before taking over as offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012 after longtime Cardinal coach David Shaw made the move to head man.
Hamilton immediately followed Stanford quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts for his rookie season in 2012, where he spent three season mentoring the now-retired passer.
Luck's career was cut short by injuries, but the four-time Pro-Bowler was one of the sharpest passers in the league during his six-year career.
The outside expectations for a third-round pick like Mills are obviously much different, but Hamilton's success with coaching some elite passers bodes well for the Houston offense next season.
The 4-13 Texans finished the season with a promising 2-2 four-game stretch. Under Hamilton's new guidance in a more significant role, Mills will look to capitalize on the 927 yards, eight touchdowns, and just two interceptions he had in the final four games.
As Hamilton said recently, "You expect from Year 1 to Year 2, any player or any quarterback in particular to have a better sense of an NFL defense. That's going to allow him to process information faster, and ultimately make better decisions, or be more consistent in making good decisions."