Where can Davis Mills improve as the Texans’ starting quarterback?

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The Houston Texans may have found their man for the near term in rookie quarterback Davis Mills.

The third-rounder from Stanford has led Houston their first winning streak since Weeks 12-13 of 2020. He is also the first rookie quarterback since T.J. Yates in Weeks 13-14 of 2011 to post a winning streak.

As the Texans wind down their infertile 4-11 campaign, so far as postseason qualification is concerned, Mills can excel as the starting quarterback.

However, the Texans were 24-0 on the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium two years ago. They aren’t that removed from threatening to go on a deep playoff run. That particular fact has not been memory-holed despite the interminable sports sadness that has beleaguered Houston sports fans since.

If Mills is to be the Texans’ quarterback of the future, to truly get Houston back to playoff contention, he has a long ways to go in his game.

Mark Schofield from the Touchdown Wire wrote a comprehensive breakdown of where Mills is after nine starts and where he can improve.

Layering throws is another area where Mills could stand to improve. Thinking back to his game against UCLA, he seemed to struggle to find the right touch and trajectory on seam routes and throws attacking between the numbers. On this interception against the Indianapolis Colts, he tries to throw a dig route on the backside, but puts the ball right between the 5 and the 3 on Darius Leonard’s jersey:

Now, Mills also tries to be too cute with his eyes. The Colts are in Cover 2 on this play, and the Texans basically run a two-receiver concept with a corner route on the right, and the dig route coming from the left. Mills opens to the right side of the field, wondering if he can hit the corner route working towards the hole along the right sideline. But he comes off that and immediately throws the dig, without fully confirming the throwing lane. While the dig is open, he needs to layer the throw over the second-level defenders and in front of the safeties. Instead, he puts the ball on a line, and Leonard is the recipient of the gift.

Mills has also shown a penchant to take care of the football as he has thrown two interceptions in his last five starts.

Houston takes on the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in Week 17 at Levi’s Stadium. Mills will get a chance to take more steps in his development as he returns to the Bay Area.