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T.J. Yates Probably Will, And Should, Start Against Jacksonville Jaguars

Tom Savage needs to sit.

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans
Legends never die.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

I’m still sick about the Tom Savage hit. It was the worst injury I’ve ever seen on the field. Worse than knees slipping around the leg like an ice cube on the kitchen floor, worse than bones peeking out of flesh, worse than offensive linemen being rolled up upon. We know what concussions do to the brain. We’ve seen the giant dark spots imprinted on the pink sponge.

This all comes after the player has left the game, though. Hardly ever do you see direct and immediate repercussions of a traumatic head injury. Tom Savage on the ground, shaking with curled fingers was exactly such a direct repercussion. Silent trauma bubbled to the surface.

For some reasons, Savage played the next series before sitting out the rest of the game. Head coach Bill O’Brien said that if he saw the hit, he would not have allowed Savage to stay in the game.

“With benefit of seeing the video, obviously from my standpoint, the care for the player, I would’ve never let that player back in the game, and I don’t believe that [Texans’ head medical trainer] Geoff Kaplan would’ve allowed that player back in the game. I don’t have benefit of the video. I did not see anything.”

O’Brien detailed that the medical staff on the sideline (there’s an independent concussion spotter in a booth watching over each game), took Savage into the pop-up medical tent for a couple of minutes, “not very long period of time,” the coach said, and then give Savage the green light to return to play.

All of this makes sense from O’Brien’s standpoint. I get it. What I don’t get is how Savage could have passed the test he was given in the medical tent after the hit. After seeing a player shake like that, the doctors should send the player to the locker room, not pull him into a blue tent for a second and then deem him ready to return immediately. It shouldn’t be difficult for the man in the crow’s nest to notify the training staff of what just happened. This entire process needs to be overhauled. Things like this can’t happen.

As you’d expect, Tom Savage is in concussion protocol. He probably won’t be cleared to play this Sunday. Even if he was cleared, he shouldn’t play. I’m not a doctor, but that seems like too little recovery time. Houston is also playing the Jaguars, a team that collected ten sacks in their first meeting in Week One. Houston’s offensive line is still atrocious, and Savage hasn’t gotten any faster. He would be a graying gazelle in the jungle if he played on Sunday.

Fortunately, the Texans released a statement that T.J. Yates is expected to start this week.

Sunday’s game doesn’t matter. Houston has nothing to play for. Sit Savage for the rest of the year and just inhale the nostalgia of 2011’s sweet and sour days.