HOUSTON -- Houston Texans' second-year quarterback Davis Mills will start in 2022, but his status as the long-term franchise quarterback remains a question. For now, he won't receive special treatment from first-year coach Lovie Smith.
Smith said Thursday night that Mills will play "a few snaps" against the New Orleans Saints Saturday evening. The "few" could be determined as a drive or two or perhaps even an entire quarter.
Smith said several players would have a rep count on Saturday, and Mills is one of them. Last season, the third-round pick started 11 games, going 2-9 as a starter, but showing promise late in the season with nine touchdowns against two interceptions.
Mills' 2,664 passing ranked second among all rookie quarterbacks in 2022, trailing only the New England Patriots' Mac Jones.
So far in practice, he's looked the part of a capable starter, but there have been questions about his ability to throw deep due to the lack of vertical plays called by new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
Houston will be limited at quarterback for Saturday's action as Smith ruled out backup Kyle Allen for personal reasons (COVID).. Currently, the Texans only carry three quarterbacks on the roster, meaning third-stringer Jeff Driskel is expected to see his rep count expand.
On the defensive side, Texans rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has been ruled out for Saturday. Stingley, the No. 3 overall pick in April's draft, has come on strong since the start of training camp, but the team isn't willing to risk a setback toward his recovery for a preseason game.
Stingley suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his foot during his final season at LSU that required surgery. He was limited to three games in 2021 but has been a full participant in practice since late last week.
"Whenever a player is coming out with a major injury, this ramp-up period, that's what it's for," Smith said of Stingley's progress. "We're going to ease him into it. He's healthy, seeing him run around. He's on schedule."
Kickoff for Saturday's game at NRG Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
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