The Houston Texans benched quarterback Brock Osweiler on Sunday, much to the delight of their fans.
Osweiler has struggled mightily throwing the ball this season, and after two first-half interceptions in Week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans turned to backup Tom Savage, who played well and led the team to a win.
Osweiler’s struggles would seemingly put the Texans in a tough position after they signed him to a four-year, $72 million contract this past offseason.
However, Texans coach Bill O’Brien apparently doesn’t see it that way. After the Texans’ 21-20 win over the Jaguars, O’Brien gave a strong hint after the game that the Texans may continue to bench Osweiler, despite the big investment in him.
“We don’t make decisions on how much a guy gets paid,” O’Brien said. “We make decisions on what’s the best way to win a game. That was the decision we made today, and I thought today, it worked out OK.”
If the size of a player’s contract didn’t matter in Week 15, then O’Brien may not care about it going forward, either.
After taking over in the second quarter, Savage went 23-of-36 for 260 yards. While it wasn’t an eye-popping performance by Savage, the mistake-free competency of his play will put the Texans in a tough position.
Although just two years and $37 million are guaranteed in Osweiler’s contract, the Texans seem stuck with him, as he likely has little trade value around the league. Though O’Brien said he won’t weigh contract size into his decision of who starts. if the Texans continue benching Osweiler, it basically amounts to thrown-away money if he’s not worth playing.
It’s a familiar situation for the Texans. Osweiler, barring a 180-degree turn, does not look like the long-term answer at quarterback. Last season, the Texans played four different quarterbacks, unable to find a go-to guy, leading them to spend big to lure Osweiler from Denver. Once again, it looks like the team is on the search for a player who can lead their offence.
The Texans remain in a battle for the AFC South, and with the Cincinnati Bengals up next for Week 16, it will be fascinating to see whether O’Brien really does start Savage over Osweiler in a crucial game.
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