Tom Savage: Why his benching made perfect sense


The agent of Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage said in an interview that his benching made no sense.  But it absolutely did make sense and here’s why.

I can understand Tom Savage’s agent Neil Schwartz lobbying for him.  That’s an agent’s job to advocate for his client.  Savage was named the Houston Texans starting quarterback after performing well in training camp.  So you’d think he’d get more than one half to justify that decision.

However, in week one against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans went into halftime down 19-0 and the offense was mostly ineffective.  So head coach Bill O’Brien opted to try to light a spark under his team and benched Savage in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson.

Watson got the Texans on the scoreboard with a third quarter touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, but was unable to lead a comeback.  The benching made no sense to Neil Schwartz and here’s what he said in an interview with NBC Sports:

"“I’m still trying to figure this out.  31 plays and you’re getting benched? It makes no sense.”"

But here’s why it does make sense.  While Tom Savage had a good camp and was endorsed by some of his teammates, Savage never really solidified the starting quarterback job. Deshaun Watson’s presence on the team is proof of this.

If the Texans really had confidence in Tom Savage as the starter then they would have never drafted Deshaun Watson in the first place.  In fact, the Texans moved up in first round of the draft to take Watson.  That says a lot about how much the Houston Texans have invested in Watson.

So yes, Tom Savage was named the starter but that situation was always tenuous at best.  Because in order for Savage to remain starter he would have to play close to flawless from the very first snap.  But instead Savage struggled.

His agent Neil Schwartz had more to say:

"“I watched all 31 plays, because that was the extent of what Tom saw in the first half,” Schwartz said. “And I can’t figure out why he’s benching Tom.”"

Because quarterbacks aren’t just responsible for running plays.  They also have to instill the confidence that the team can win with them.  Savage didn’t do that and was always going to have a short leash as long as Deshaun Watson was waiting behind him.

Did Tom Savage get a raw deal? Probably.  But when a team drafts a quarterback in the first round, the incumbent is always on the hot seat.  You can’t place doubt in a coaches mind with a shaky start to a game.  You have to play with a sense of urgency and leave no doubt that you’re the guy.

A perfect example of this is Alex Smith.  After his week one performance against the New England Patriots, the drum beat by fans to start rookie Patrick Mahomes has died down.  And as long as Alex Smith plays well and the Chiefs continue to win, then Smith will start.

Next: Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals – Game Pick

But just like Tom Savage, if the Chiefs start losing and his play drops off, then Alex Smith will be holding a clipboard and Mahomes will start.  I like Tom Savage but for now he’ll have to wait for another chance to prove himself.  It might not be fair but it does make sense.