There was a great deal of optimism a few weeks ago when Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills took over in the second half for injured veteran Tyrod Taylor during Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns.
Just two weeks into the season, fans and the team seemed excited to see what the Texans’ third-round draft pick out of Stanford could do with the lights on. Three straight losses and a dreadful performance by Mills and the team in a 40-0 loss to Buffalo – the franchise’s most lopsided loss in history – suddenly has everyone wondering when will Taylor be back on the field or if there is a veteran quarterback available to pick up at this point.
Taylor, of course, suffered a hamstring strain in the first half against the Browns and was placed on injured reserve, which means he must miss at least three weeks before he can return to practice.
“I think when we put him on injured reserve, there’s obviously a certain amount of time he’s got to stay there before he’s back,” said Texans coach David Culley, whose team sits at 1-3 with New England coming into NRG Stadium on Sunday. “We’re hopefully able to get him back here in the next couple weeks.”
That would put Taylor back on the field in Arizona when the Texans travel to face former teammates DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt and the Cardinals on Oct. 24. But oddly enough, there has been some awkwardness this week when the subject came up about whether Taylor will assume his starting role when he is healthy.
Taylor, who was a Pro Bowl starter in Buffalo before short stints with the Browns and Chargers, is seen as the stop-gap quarterback until Mills is ready to take over. While it’s obvious Taylor gives the Texans the best chance to win, you might have thought differently this week as the team seemed careful to not show a lack of confidence in the rookie by stating Taylor will get his job back when healthy.
“Whatever is going to be best for our team, whatever is going to put us in the best position to win,” said offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. “It’s been pretty evident as an organization that’s what we’re trying to do here. We’re not going to treat that decision any differently.”
But coming off Sunday’s pedestrian performance in which Mills completed 11 of 21 passes 87 yards, while throwing four interceptions and being sacked three times against the Bills. He actually registered a 0.0 passer rating in the first half after throwing interceptions and completing just one pass.
Taylor, meanwhile, guided the Texans to their lone victory this season and had the Browns on the ropes prior to his injury. The 11-year veteran had completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 416, three touchdowns, no interceptions and had a career-high 122.9 passer rating during the two games he has played this season.
Mills hasn’t declared that he should remain the starter, but he was in no mood this week to talk about what should happen once Taylor is healthy.
“Not really a huge comment on that,” said Mills, who is 0-2 as a starter. “Obviously, I’m just going to put my best foot forward every day and do as best I can to hopefully win games for the team.”
Follow Terrance Harris on Twitter @terranceharrisAttachments area