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Lovie Smith: “Davis Mills Is Our Quarterback Heading Into The Season”

The head coach said it. Take it to the bank...or not.

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Newest Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith was recently interviewed by Rich Eisen. When asked about the H-Town quarterback situation, Smith covered all his bases, like any good politician.

Lovie Smith:

You don’t give out starting positions in the spring.

Very smart outlook when your team is essentially 18-20 guys short of the necessary 22 starting offensive and defensive positions. Smith then recanted his statement when it came to second-year signal-caller Davis Mills.

Smith

I love what Davis Mills did last year. When you come in as a rookie like he did last year and you start off throwing against the number one defense, so I got a chance to see a lot of him. Then when he moved up and started playing. Like his demeanor. He can make all the throws. He’s smart... He’s our quarterback heading into the season.

You certainly can’t argue the fact that Mills provided some of the very few bright spots to last season. Unfortunately, some of the dark spots as well, as you’d expect from a rookie quarterback.

While anyone who confuses Mills’ productivity with the second coming of Peyton Manning might be in for a rude awakening, the 2021 third round pick did far more than expected.

The rookie appeared in 13 games, starting 11. He ompleted 263 passes on 384 attempts for a 66.8 completion percentage. He tossed 16 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, had 118 first downs, and an 88.8 quarterback rating.

For a rook who had very, very little talent around him (minus Brandin Cooks,) those are pretty respectable numbers. Now, if Pep Hamilton and his staff can continue developing Mills, improve his footwork, strengthen his decision-making, and call better plays, things might just look rosy for his future and that of the Texans.

The downside is all the Texans’ upcoming opponents now have 11+ games worth of film to study on Mills. He’s not surprising anyone in 2022. He won’t have the benefit of a defense preparing for Tyrod Taylor, only to have Mills appear under center instead.

Smith:

I feel really good about Davis leading our team. We just have to get better people around him. There are a lot of positions I’m worried about. Quarterback is not one of them.

Better offensive linemen, better running backs, a better running scheme, and someone not named Brandin Cooks to step up and catch more balls...those are the positions to worry about. Last year, Cooks accounted for 1,037 of Houston’s air yards. Nico Collins, another ‘21 rookie, was in second place with only 446. After that, there wasn’t a single player who wore battle red with more than 325 receiving yards.

No, not even David Johnson.

Surrounding Mills with better talent really needs to be Nick Caserio’s primary concern heading into free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. First, Caserio is going to have to deal with the mess he, Jack Easterby, and Bill O’Brien made of the Texans’ salary cap.

After that, hopefully a coach like Lovie Smith is enough to entice some quality free agents to sign in Houston. Hopefully, Caserio is savvy enough to snatch some immediate starters in the upcoming draft. Hopefully, Davis Mills’ best football is ahead of him.