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‘On Borrowed Time’: Losing Texans Plan Return of QB Tyrod Taylor

Texans' Tyrod Taylor to return to practice Wednesday

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rookie quarterback Davis Mills could be on borrowed time as the Texans' starter.

Houston Texans veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, whom coach David Culley has repeatedly stated won't lose his starting job due to an injury, is slated to return to practice Wednesday and be designated for return from injured reserve. Taylor will have 21 days to be activated after being designated for return, or he would spend the remainder of the season on injured reserve if he's not restored to the 53-man roster.

Taylor, 32, remains on injured reserve and would need to prove to the Texans that he's healthy enough after recovering from a Grade 2 strained hamstring suffered while running for a touchdown and being chased by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett five games ago.

Mills has gone 0-5 as the starter for the 1-6 Texans, who are in last place in the AFC South division and are mired in a six-game losing streak.

The Texans are considered likely to start Mills next Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams because Taylor would likely require a ramp-up period of one week of practice to make sure he doesn't experience a setback. If Taylor shows he is fully recovered, that time table could be accelerated.

"I'll just have to wait until Wednesday to see, but he is going to start to practice and we'll see how things are," Culley said following a 31-5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. "I feel like he's a lot further along and he's getting closer but won't be able to answer that until Wednesday."

A former Pro Bowl selection, Taylor completed 10 of 11 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a 144.3 passer rating before having to leave the Browns game at halftime. Taylor completed 70.5 percent of his throws for 416 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a career-high 122.9 passer rating before the injury.

Mobility is a big part of Taylor's game, so the Texans need to evaluate how he's moving before putting him back into a game situation.

"Just to make sure when he's running around back there that there's nothing hampering him from being the type of player that he is, using his legs," Culley said. "If there's nothing there, then we feel good about going and playing with him. The only way to find that out is by going and practicing him."

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Mills completed 23 of 32 passes for only 135 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions for a 79.6 passer rating, but lost a fumble against the Cardinals. He has passed for 1,047 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

"I don't think that bothers him at all," Culley said of how Mills handles adversity. "Other than the fumble, I thought he handled everything very well today. I don't think that's a situation that bothers him. He's trying to do his job. Today, other than the fumble, I thought he did his job."

Culley has stated he doesn't believe in a starter losing a job due to an injury.

"No, I do not," Culley said. "He'll be our starting quarterback."

Culley's stance of a player not losing their job because of getting injured was welcomed by veteran players inside the Texans' locker room.

"I respect it and I appreciate it," said running back Mark Ingram Jr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection. "There's a lot of things you can control and can't control and one thing you can't control is injuries. To have a coach that believes in you and once you get healthy to start off where you left back, I think that is a blessing. That's someone that understands football.

"That's someone that understands the pedigree of football. Injuries are inevitable in football. To have a coach who believes in his guy and has his guy's back when they have an injury, that's something that's a blessing and something a lot of guys would appreciate."

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks emphasized that he's not playing any favorites on the pending quarterback decision.

“Love T, love Davis,” Cooks said. “At the end of the day, I love all my teammates. That’s a decision only a coach can make, that’s who I’ll put my trust in.”