With Matt Schaub and now Matt Leinart out for the season, the Texans turn the keys over the rookie quarterback T.J. Yates. Yates was a 5th round pick (152nd) overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, and is now put into a situation that all Texans fans did not want to see.
Yates showed promise during preseason and was the last time fans saw any type of game action for the rookie quarterback. Coming from the University of North Carolina, it was said that the team studied Texans offensive game video to prepare for their offense. This might have been a match made before he was even drafted by the Texans, and now he has been under the Texans offensive system since mid-summer.
It was an eerie feeling, but seeing Matt Leinart go down on Sunday had majority of Texans fans asking "why us". Yates promptly marched the Texans down the field and set the team up for a field goal. He made some nice passes and made a great pass to Andre Johnson when he fit a pass in between four Jaguars' defenders. Even though Yates was called for an intentional grounding late in the second half, it was impressive to see a rookie quarterback throw the football out of the back of the endzone to prevent taking a sack. He finished the day going 8/15 for 70 yards completed the ball to 6 different receivers.
It is hard to say if Yates will be the man for the last 5 games of the season, but like Leinart he has a lot of weapons at his disposal. With Kellen Clemens on board now, expect the Texans to be active Monday morning trying to find another quarterback. All signs are pointing to Jeff Garcia who has worked with quarterback coach Greg Knapp in San Francisco and helped Garcia to 3 pro-bowls. There are not many options out there, so it will be interesting to see which direction the team goes.
Yates has all of the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, but like most rookie quarterbacks the speed of the game will be the question. He has the advantage to take over the starting duties for the team for knowing the system and the players. Expect Yates to get the call on Sunday against the Falcons, but don't be surprised if there another quarterback ready on the sidelines.