What could the Texans playing rookie QB Davis Mills at this point possibly hurt?

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  • Houston Texans
    Houston Texans
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  • Davis Mills
    Davis Mills
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  • Tyrod Taylor
    Tyrod Taylor
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HOUSTON — Following a 21-14 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, the Houston Texans are sitting at an abysmal 2-9 record with six games left in the season. And amidst the continuous losing, the Texans have placed an emphasis on the development of their rookie class over the previous three games.

Nico Collins, Brevin Jordan, Roy Lopez and Garret Wallow have established themselves as integral pieces to the Texans’ game plan, but the one rookie who has not received the same opportunity is Davis Mills.

After filling in for the injured Tyrod Taylor for six consecutive games, the rookie quarterback from Stanford has received three straight DNPs since his return.

It comes to no surprise that the Texans shelved Mills in favor of Taylor. During his time spent nursing a Grade 2 hamstring strain, coach David Culley was adamant about Taylor retaining his job as the Texans’ starting quarterback because he gave Houston their best chance at winning.

Since Taylor’s return, the Texans have dropped two of their previous three games. And despite his subpar on-field production, Culley remains uninterested in replacing Taylor for Mills — despite the predominant evaluation and experience.

“I believe he could be a quarterback in this league for a long time…but Tyrod is the starter,” Culley said during his media availability Monday morning. “Only if something happens to Tyrod, then you could see Mills.”

In the six games Mills started in placed of Taylor, the Texans received a substantial evaluation at their project quarterback. He completed 67.0% of his passes for 1,357 yards, to go along with seven touchdowns.

Mills’ most significant issue was his ability to take care of the ball, recording seven interceptions and three fumbles in 388 offensive snaps played.

But despite his transgressions with turnovers, Mills surpassed the most modest expectations nearly every time he stepped onto the field.

In two of the six games he started under center, Mills was arguably the best rookie quarterback from the 2021 draft class — even surpassing Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Mac Jones during the Texans Week 5 loss to the New England Patriots.

“It’s been invaluable experience for him — he’s grown from it,” Culley said in October. “He’s going to be better for it. It’s going to help him in his future having gone through what he’s gone through.”

Other than developing their young talents, the Texans do not have much to play for prior to the conclusion of the season. And unless the Texans have interest in re-signing Taylor this offseason, Houston could be doing themselves a disservice by not playing Mills.