The Houston Texans are expected to use rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson as their starter for their Week 2 Thursday game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The move comes after the Texans benched Week 1 starter Tom Savage after two lowly quarters against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, turning to Watson after halftime.
Savage struggled as he failed to lead a scoring drive and was sacked six times, one of which turned into a fumble.
Watson, though he led the team to a touchdown on his first drive, didn’t fair much better, as he was sacked four times and threw an interception. The Texans lost 29-7.
All of which has Savage’s agent Neil Schwartz confused as to why his client is being benched. Schwartz said on “PFT Live” on Wednesday that he “can’t figure out why” Savage is not starting Week 2.
“I watched all 31 plays, because that was the extent of what Tom saw in the first half, and I can’t figure out why [Texans coach Bill O’Brien] is benching Tom,” Schwartz said.
He said he even asked two NFL personnel people to watch the film and evaluate the performance, saying that they found that 12 of Savage’s 13 passes touched receivers’ hands. He also said he timed Savage’s throws to see if Savage held onto the ball too long and found that on every play but one Savage was sacked within three seconds.
“If you watch the film and you say ‘I see something wrong that deserves to be benched,’ I wouldn’t be on the phone with you now,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said that he felt the need to defend Savage because he didn’t think the coaching staff did.
“I wanted to defend Tom and this was my choice. I spoke to Tom and Tom was okay with it and comfortable. And I spoke to my partner. Someone, I felt, had to defend Tom and I didn’t feel the coaching staff defended Tom or defended his performance.”
Schwartz continued, saying while O’Brien has “every right” to manage the team how he likes, he would like to sit down with him and review the film.
“If he threw two pick-6s in the first half, I get it. If he was inaccurate with the ball, I get it,” Schwartz said. “31 plays? I don’t get it.”
As Mike Florio noted, the coaching staff likely won’t be thrilled about being publicly second-guessed, though it is Schwartz’s job to stand up for his client. This benching also doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Savage’s season. If Watson struggles, the Texans may turn back to Savage to look for someone with more experience and keep Watson’s confidence in tact.
However, it’ll be worth monitoring to see how Schwartz’s comments affect the Texans’ chemistry. The season is already off to a shaky start and a quarterback controversy, rather than simply a competition, might not help things.