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Quarterback Time Machine: Ranking The Houston Texans Quarterbacks

This won't be miserable at all.

I bet you forgot how graceful I am. In fact, I know you did.
I bet you forgot how graceful I am. In fact, I know you did.
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2014, Shea Serrano reverse-ranked every Texans quarterback. It's a sad, miserable and fun read...and yet, the Texans have added three more quarterbacks to this list: Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, and B.J. Daniels.


This is so sad. But now there's hope. Houston has a new, fancy, slightly used quarterback who everyone already loves, and will be really good, and don't you dare say otherwise. Before we can bask in it, let's remember where we came from. I want to go back to our roots and re-rank every festering wound that has thrown a pass for Houston since it's the offseason and ESPN laid Grantland down in the bath tub and slit its throat and I have nothing else better to do.

16.) Ryan Fitzpatrick: 197-312, 63.1%, 2,483 Yards, 17 TD, 8 INT, 21 Sacks, 8.0 Y/A.

I hate Ryan Fitzaptrick so much. It has nothing to do with him. It was fun to watch him dumpster-dive for first downs. The beard was charming. The "Fitzpatrick went to Harvard, I have nothing else to say, but my broadcasting degree told me that dead air is a bad thing" schtick become staler than the pizza crusts Fitzpatrick sufficed on, but in its own way, it twisted into a vital component of 2014 Texans' lexicon. Fitzpatrick had no arm strength and had to put every inch of himself into every throw. He bounced passes all over the field. And boy, he was so gritty. Gritzpatrick would jump into a volcano, if a volcano was the end zone, and plummet smiling as the lava eviscerated his beard hair, giving off the smell of a wet dog. Through it all, there was some charm and competent quarterbacking to be had.

The reason why I hate Fitzpatrick is because of the opportunity cost he represents. When Houston signed him, I thought, "That is a fine backup quarterback or mentor for the rookie quarterback they are about to draft.  There is no way he starts."  And then the 2014 NFL Draft happened. The Texans let Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo (who I don't think is good) all slip away. Afterwards, I dropped my coffee mug when I realized that Fitzpatrick was Keyser Soze, and he would be the Texans' starting quarterback in 2014.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the symbol of the Texans stop-gap, lemon buying, quarterback strategy of the two offseasons that preceeded this one. Without him, there would be no Brian Hoyer. Without him, there would be no Ryan Mallett. Without him, there would be no return of Case Keenum or T.J. Yates. So every time I see him spew from the mouth like a deranged baby bear, I just think about what could have and should have been, instead of what was and is.

15.) Brian Hoyer: 224-369, 60.7%, 2,606 Yards, 19 TD, 7 INT, 25 Sacks, 7.1 Y/A.

I still can't believe that performance Hoyer had against the Kansas City Chiefs. Let's run the numbers back one more time. In that game, the Texans lost 30-0. Brian Hoyer completed 15 of 34 passes for 136 yards, picked up 4.0 yards per attempt, took 7 sacks, threw 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, fumbled 2 times and lost 1, and had a QBR of 1.7. Actually, I shouldn't be surprised. It's Brian Hoyer in a playoff game against one of the best defenses in the league. This is exactly what should have happened.

Aside from the lack of performance, it was just a job watching Hoyer play football. With him as the starter, every game felt like homework, like I was watching a mandatory online orientation video for a new job or trying to find the first derivative. It was a chore to get through it. The outcome was known against bad to mediocre teams. The defense would play really well and the offense would do just enough. The outcome was also known against really good teams. Houston would lose because the offense couldn't score more than 17 points. Everything was mundane and unsurprising. Hoyer added nothing to this team except the ability to play safe, doing just enough against bad teams and the ability to screw up against really good teams.

14.) B.J. Daniels: 1-2, 50%, 7 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 Sacks, 3.5 Y/A.

Jabar Gaffney has thrown more passes as a Houston Texan than B.J. Daniels has, which is, just, like, so unbelievable. So what could I possibly have against him? Well, the Texans have this incredible receiver who isn't properly appreciated in Cecil Shorts III. He can do everything. He can get yards after the catch, which is something that happens a lot because he catches everything. He's great at getting obliterated on screen passes and attacking the middle of the defense.

Yet Shorts' best strength may be his ability as a passer of the football. The former quarterback from Mount Union can chuck it and can actually hit a receiver in stride, something that no quarterback these last four years has ever done. When Houston brought in B.J. Daniels, it didn't add anything to the offense. All it did was take away snaps from Shorts as the quarterback of the Wild Bull, Crazy Toro, we-don't-have-one-legitimate-quarterback-and-we-must-do-everything-in-our-power-to-not-let-him-throw-the ball, or whatever you want to call it offense. With Daniels in, Shorts wasn't able to maximize his strengths and do what he does best.

14.) Tony Banks: 76/129, 58.9%, 882 Yards, 6 TD, 5 INT, 13 Sacks, 6.8 Y/A.

Wow, I forgot about Tony Banks. I had planned to write about him, made a note to write about him, and yet I completely forgot. That sums up Tony Banks' time in Houston better than anyone could with words.

13.) Rex Grossman: 3-9, 33.3%, 33 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 0 Sacks, 3.7 Y/A.

This never happened, right? There's no way anyone has a VHS recording of all nine of Grossman's attempted passes. And if there's no footage of it, then it does not exist.

Ifthere is footage of it, it needs to be burned before Rex Grossman starts crawling through people's televisions.

12.) Dave Ragone: 20-40, 50%, 135 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 8 Sacks, 3.4 Y/A.

The ages of 13, 14, and 15 passed me by with Dave Ragone on Houston's roster. I don't remember any of it. To be fair, I don't remember much during that time. All I did was eat, sleep and play Halo 2 for three straight years. That has more to do with me than Mr. Ragone.

Let's not dissuade his accomplishments by a lack of memory, though. He did win a World Bowl after being cut by the Texans in 2006, proving once again that if your monomaniacal goal in life is to win a Super Bowl than the most important thing you need to do is not play for the Houston Texans.

11.) Jake Delhomme: 18-28, 64.3%, 211 Yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 2 Sacks, 7.5 Y/A.

Once Matt Leinart broke his collarbone, Jake Dellhome was signed to back up T.J. Yates. I'll let the saddest Wikipedia entry I've ever read fill in the rest.

Delhomme entered the Texans' season finale against the Titans after Yates suffered a bruised throwing shoulder. He would go on to lead his team on a potential game winning drive, completing 18 of 28 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. But the Texans would lose 23-22 after a botched snap on a two-point attempt play. After the season ended, Delhomme told media that he would most likely retire.

10.) Tom Savage: 10-19, 52.6%, 127 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 1 Sack, 6.7 Y/A.

He represents the hope of what happens when you let a quarterback sit and learn, even if that quarterback was bad in college, played at seventeen different schools and is older than Brandon Weeden. Although Savage is probably bad, no one can say for certain. He's a perfect pot to pour all of our quarterback optimism into because he's an untouched player who has thrown just 19 passes. Savage is a beautiful, tall, big armed angel, "who's always ready to go" and "makes the most of his mental reps", but probably should never actually go.

9.) Ryan Mallett: 119-222, 53.6%, 1,171 Yards, 5 TD, 6 INT, 5 Sacks, 5.3 Y/A.

Aw, shucks. I hate watching Mallett play the game of football, but I like the idea of Mallett playing football. He's dumb as shit. He can only do two things really well--throw the ball hard and not take sacks, even if that means throwing the ball as hard as he can at someone two feet in front of him or throwing right at a defender as he's going down to save a six yard loss. But I love the idea of a possum-brained person not giving a damn, breaking fingers and hearts and chunking the ball deep with a bowling bowl wad of tobacco tucked under his lip and hangover on his breath.

The sad thing is he can't do neither of those things because you have to hit someone in the hands in order to smash their phalanges, and you have to put the ball somewhere in the same county to complete a deep pass. This is also why Ryan Mallett didn't work out in the NFL. He's terrible not because he has the IQ of Benjy Compson and is the typical immature millennial.  He's bad because he would give the last bite of his raccoon stew for the ability to thread the needle like Jake Locker.

8.) Sage Rosenfels: 297-453, 65.6%, 3,380 Yards, 24 TD, 23 INT, 16 Sacks, 7.5 Y/A.

What's the greatest play in Texans' franchise history?

Plays 1-6,000 or so are every snap J.J. Watt has ever taken. After that, it's Andre Johnson's touchdown catch from Yates against Cincinnati in the playoffs, DeAndre Hopkins leaping over Pacman Jones last year, Johnson going through four defenders in Arizona, Arian Foster's diving sideline touchdown catch in 2012 against Chicago, Corey Bradford's touchdown in Houston's inaugural game, and then it's the Rosencopter. I'm still surprised there hasn't been an emo band to come out of Houston with that name. I'd drive up to Austin and pay $5 to watch them play.

Anyways, back to reality.  Rosenfels could have as many passing attempts as B.J. Daniels and he would still be right here for that special instant he decided to flap his wings and fly away.

People don't forget.

7.) Matt Leinart: 10-13, 76.9%, 57 Yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 Sacks, 4.4 Y/A.

I mean, what the hell? Taking away Matt Schaub wasn't enough?  They had to take away Leinart, too? Houston had the week after the bye to groom Leinart to be competent enough to replace Schaub. He was pretty good in that first half against Jacksonville. Unlike his entire NFL career, he made zero mistakes. He completed more than 70% of his passes for a little more than 4 yards an attempt. He threw a 20 yard touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen.  That was cool. After that, I talked myself into Leinart becoming Tom Brady and leading the Texans to a Super Bowl because I was younger and dumber and drunker than I currently am...and then :Leinart broke his collarbone.  That wasn't cool. Then the Texans ran the ball and punted over and over again until the game was over and that was really boring. Then no one heard from Matt Leinart ever again.

6) Brandon Weeden: 26-42, 61.9%, 305 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 2 Sacks, 7.3 Y/A.

Weeden is a flash of brilliance. He's a pile of garbage that can still make one or two great plays a game. This means he's fun to watch and can be capable whenever your first two quarterbacks are injured. He's everything you want in a third-string quarterback who's lived longer than a quarter century. That being said, man, did he make some great plays during his spare time in Houston.

This was the best throw a Texans quarterback made in 2015.

And I still have no idea how he did not get sacked here.

Most importantly, he's the first Houston quarterback to win in Indianapolis. Suck on that, Peyton.

5.) Case Keenum: 182-330, 55.2%, 2,195 Yards, 11 TD, 8 INT, 22 Sacks, 6.7 Y/A.


Case Keenum is not a good quarterback. He's a bad quarterback. For whatever reason, there are still truthers out there who think  that he is. However, that doesn't mean Keenum is boring to watch. There are deep passes he has no business trying to complete. He will throw the ball into double coverage and be completely shocked when the pass is intercepted. And he thinks he's faster than he really is, as he unsuccessfully scampers away from defenders who are bigger and faster than him en route to -37 yard sack.


I will always hold a special place in my heart for Keenum. The 2013 season was the worst of all time. It was a most miserable endeavor: There were the pick sixes, Brian Cushing snapped his leg in half, Ed Reed, Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime against the Colts, #420Gate, Bum Phillips died, Kubiak was fired, Matt Schaub was booed and benched and Andre Johnson yelled at him, Houston lost to Matt McGloin, and the Texans lost fourteen(!) games in a row. Yet, throughout all of that, Keenum made football fun again for a few weeks when he closed his eyes, said eff it, threw it deep, and made us feel like something special was happening. That special thing was just the fact that life was horrid, and he made things a little less horrid.

And OMG, the festering stink of Houston quarterback play has permeated the entire league with a pestilence. Keenum will start in St. Louis this year because Jeff Fisher still listens to Limp Bizkit. Just like LeBron James going back to Believeland, Matt Schaub went back to where it all started in Atlanta. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in New York or Denver. Ryan Mallett is the backup in Baltimore. T.J. Yates will be a third string quarterback somewhere before ending up back in Houston like some cat you don't want and drop off thirty miles form the house that still manages to ME-OW its way back home. And some poor rookie quarterback is going to have to hang out with Brian Hoyer. At least the scourge has spread and the misery isn't bound to this section of the country.

4.) David Carr: 1,243-2,071, 60%, 13,391 Yards, 59 TD, 65 INT, 249 Sacks, 6.5 Y/A.

When I was 13, I was playing Madden and felt that David Carr's picture looked like me. The only thing we had in common was that we were both white, had dark hair spiked hair up in front because everyone who was in middle school in 2003 did this and drew penises on everything, and Carr, I don't know, really liked Sugar Ray? I told my younger brother this. He then mocked me incessantly. Then I wanted him to get amnesia.

Because we had the same haircut, and because he was the #1 pick, and because I made a terrible life decision and became a fan of this team, I wanted him to be good more than anything. Carr didn't even get the chance to be bad.

Year Times Sacked Rank
2002 76 1st
2003 15 35th
2004 49 1st
2005 68 1st
2006 41 8th

3.) T.J. Yates: 129-233, 57.8%, 1,470 Yards, 6 TD, 7 INT, 22 Sacks, 6.6 Y/A.

If Yates was an astronaut, he would have taken off Neil Armstrong's helmet and hopped in front of him so his feet would be the first to touch on the moon. With Schaub out for the year in 2011, Yates was able to say FIRST instead of the rightful owner of Houston's playoff virginity. Yates was the first quarterback to clinch a playoff berth in Texans' history. He was the first quarterback to win a playoff game in Texans' history. Also, I've been told his parents are really nice.

All of that is cool and all, but none of those accomplishments are his greatest. The best was when Schaub went out with a foot injury against the St. Louis Rams in Week Six in 2013. As Schaub rolled around, crumpled and crying, the fans proceeded to bellow boos at him even though he didn't throw a pick-six that game and threw for 183 yards. Then Yates came in, carried on the pick-six tradition, and made the greatest throw in franchise history.

Yates pick 6

The universe is a beautiful place.

2.) Brock Osweiler: 0/0, 0%, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 Sacks, 0.0 Y/A.

Brock Osweiler is really tall.  He's part beanstalk. He sparkles in the sunlight. His name can be morphed into various clever puns. Most importantly, he's yet to throw a pass yet in Houston yet. That makes him better than the fifteen other men who preceded him.

1.) Matt Schaub: 1,951-3,020, 64.6%, 23,221 Yards, 124 TD, 78 INT, 160 Sacks, 7.7 Y/A.

The pain of loss hurts more than the joy of happiness. Consequently, there's been some revisionist history going on regarding Matt Schaub. There's this idea floating around that Schaub was average and that you couldn't win a championship with him. This is untrue. He was a good, fringe top ten quarterback for five years who never did anything other than beat Cincinnati once because of an ill-timed injury, Houston's terrible defenses, Neil Rackers, Chris Brown, Kris Brown, Peyton Manning and all the other times that bad luck derailed Houston when they were on the precipice of success. If you ever feel otherwise, just bask in the numbers, go back to The YouTube, and watch videos like this to scrub the lies from your brain that time has implanted inside of you.

Matt Schaub was a million times better than any quarterback to ever play in Houston. The playaction roll-outs where he flashed a red cape and threw it to an open receiver were beautiful. When he was N'Sync with 'Dre, life was lovely. All of those touchdown passes to Owen Daniels were examples of perfect execution. Even watching him scramble was fun. And as a person, he was the perfect combination of goofy and charming.

All of a sudden, I really miss Matt Schaub.