Tom Savage only off to a ‘decent start’ with the Houston Texans

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Tom Savage will be throwing a lot of footballs over the next couple days. 

The rookie is the only quarterback at the Texans’ rookie minicamp, which kicked off Friday and runs through Sunday. Veterans Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates aren’t rookies, so Savage is the only player on the fields throwing. 

And so far, so good. 

“He went out there today,” head coach Bill O’Brien said, “and had a decent start to what hopefully is a long career for him.”

Savage is a big quarterback. He’s 6-foot-4, 228 pounds. And he looks it. On Friday, he showed off his big arm and it was pretty easy to see why the Texans were so interested in him. He’s not very mobile but he has a cannon and delivered some throws with zip to a bunch of receivers, many of whom don’t have a legitimate shot to make the final 53-man roster. 

O’Brien said they spent an hour and a half with Savage in an individual meeting upon his arrival and said they then expect him to “execute at a high level.” O’Brien acknowledged that it can be hard to do that but that it’s the expectation level he has for the position. 

“Our offense is not the easiest offense to learn right away for a young quarterback,” O’Brien said. “So you have to study on your own. You have to figure out on your own how you’re going to get an edge and learn what we do offensively and learn what the defense is doing. Tom (Savage) came in here, I think he had a good first night. He paid attention. You could tell he was taking notes.”

Savage is 24 and has a little more experience learning new playbooks than most rookies. His wild and winding college path had him learn four different playbooks. Now, he has to learn the one O’Brien and quarterbacks coach George Godsey have given him. 

“Just got to memorize everything you can,” Savage said. “You have to know everything. And that’s what it is. This whole position is mental; it’s in between the ears so I’m just gonna start learning this thing and get this thing rolling.”

O’Brien said there’s not a specific amount of information he wants Savage to learn by the end of rookie camp but said there is an instillation schedule. O’Brien did say the team will be willing to proceed depending on Savage’s progress, though. If Savage is struggling with some things, they’ll slow it down for him. 

Savage hasn’t gotten a chance to meet many of his veteran teammates yet, including Fitzpatrick. But he’s looking forward to meeting and learning from the 10-year vet. 

“I know he’s a really smart quarterback and he’s really competitive and wants to win just like all of us want to do,” Savage said. “So I’m excited to start learning from him and pick his brain.”

Savage is just one day into his NFL career. But so far, so good. 

“I think it’s definitely a jump from college but it’s going to be fun,” he said. “I’m excited. I’ve already opened it up and started just trying to get as much as I can and soak up as much knowledge as I can from this whole deal so when I go to OTAs, I’m ready to go.”

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