Adjusting to the NFL is never an easy task, regardless of the team a rookie walks into. Something Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills is learning the hard way.
Mistakes are inevitable and must be taken as a learning experience rather than a drain on a player's confidence. Mills may have experienced his first NFL shutout last week during their 40-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills. But despite this, he's seemingly unfazed, using it as a chance to improve.
"I think from last week there was a lot to learn from, and I’m glad I kind of got some of those things out of the way so I can learn from it and hopefully improve from it going forward," Mills said on Wednesday.
These situations are where the hiring of David Culley, a former quarterback at Vanderbilt and long-time NFL quarterbacks coach, should pay off.
"I’ve talked to Coach Culley just about making smart decisions with the football," Mills said. "It’s never a bad thing to throw a completion in front of the sticks and punt on fourth down, and play the field position game rather than trying to force something and making a bad decision with the ball. Talked about that, talked about sometimes incompletions are okay, or throwing the ball away or taking a sack, if the situation fits, to protect the football."
Since his arrival, one prevailing sentiment surrounding Mills has been that he never flinches, never gets visibly flustered. He remains even-keel at all times, regardless of the circumstances surrounding him and his teammates.
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A self-described "confident person," Mills mentioned that Culley has continued to give him confidence despite last week's tough loss, reiterating to him why the team drafted him.
What may ultimately benefit Mills is the fact that he is guaranteed at least one more game until starter Tyrod Taylor can be activated from injured reserve.
The New England Patriots may have the same 1-3 record as the Texans, but records can be deceiving and the Patriots will be favored across the board.
This is, however, a far more winnable game for Mills and the Texans than last week and a real opportunity for the rookie to take what he's learned in recent weeks and put it to good use before potentially being benched by Taylor's return.
Mills was always going to need time, and with this team in full tear-down rebuild mode, it's hardly an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback. But his attitude will only help him through this rough patch.
He makes a mistake against a defensive look he hasn't come across before? No sweat.
"Compartmentalize them," Mill said. "Put them in my memory and being able to not make the same mistake twice."
And arguably the most important takeaway Mills is learning: protect the ball. "You can’t shoot yourself in the foot and still win games."
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