The early returns on Jadeveon Clowney in Houston are about what we expected. He’s going to plant opposing humans in the ground, and often. We saw that immediately when he stuffed Stepfan Taylor for a five-yard loss after using his incredible speed to bust through the line.
But Clowney and the downright unfair tandem he’ll form with J.J. Watt came at a cost: the Texans have the worst quarterback depth chart in the NFL.
Or at least it’s close, with the Oakland Raiders the only challenger, though they have hope in the near future with Derek Carr. The Texans had a glaring need at quarterback and an opportunity to either trade back into the first round for Teddy Bridgewater, or take Carr with their 33rd overall pick. Instead they waited, waited some more, and then selected something called a Tom Savage in the fourth round.
That means we live in a world where Ryan Fitzpatrick is still a starting NFL quarterback. What’s that you say? He’s been bad enough to lose first-team reps to Case Keenum?
Case Keenum taking first team reps. Martin dropped first pass, Martin caught the next, third fell incomplete. #Texans
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 14, 2014
A disclaimer: this could mean absolutely nothing, and just been part of the training camp rhythm in Houston. But that seems unlikely since we are now well into camp in mid-August, and this is the first time Keenum has been given a look with the Texans’ top offensive unit.
Regardless of head coach Bill O’Brien’s motivations, this illustrates the fragile and hopeless reality of the Texans’ depth chart at the most important position on the field. Fitzpatrick remains the likely Week 1 starter, the same Fitzpatrick who managed to complete only six of his 14 pass attempts for 55 yards against the Cardinals during his preseason Texans debut, with two interceptions.
That’s a pretty disgusting per attempt average of 3.9 yards, and on his career Fitzpatrick has maintained a mediocre pace of 6.5 yards per throw. Worse, of his 14 interceptions last year in a relief role for the Titans, seven came with his team down by a field goal or less.
Brutal stuff, though if it’s a serviceable veteran backup you’re looking for, Fitz is still a decent option to pull off your bench in a time of need. But he’s no more than that, and behind him is Case Keenum, an undrafted quarterback who needed only 272 dropbacks in 2013 to get sacked 19 times, with eight turnovers.
The Texans have a depth chart filled with backup quarterbacks, and they’re set to waste one of the few prime years both Andre Johnson and Arian Foster have left.