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Is Davis Mills the Houston Texans Answer or the Problem?

Always in motion, is the future...

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2021 ended with a lot of hope for the future with Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills. Statistically speaking, he overachieved in his rookie season. With only Mac Jones of the New England Patriots looking like a better rookie quarterback by the numbers, it’s easy to see why a lot of folks have jumped on the Davis hype train.

Now, with the week 3 matchup of the 2022 season fast approaching, things aren’t shining so brightly. Particularly with the Chicago Bears, another not-so-great team that happens to have a much better defense than either the Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos.

Houston Texans Passing Game Problems

Many cite Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton as a quarterback-whispering, passing game guru. Sadly, that sounds far too much like the pre-hire Bill O’Brien hype to sit well with a lot of jaded Texans fans. But, Hamilton is a superior OC to BOB, pre-Texans at least.

Houston Chronicle

Questions at quarterback: After two games, it’s become clear that the passing game is the largest issue for the Texans. Davis Mills has quarterbacked five total late-game drives so far this season. None produced points. The offense averaged 3.63 yards per play on those drives. Mills was sacked three times, but when kept clean he completed 7-of-16 passes for 71 yards.

Despite facing 2 consecutive teams that have questionable defenses, the Houston Texans are currently 29th in the league in passing stats. Mills has thrown 75 balls for 42 completions and a 56% completion rate. His yard’s per attempt is a pitiful 5.6 and he’s gained only 417 air yards after 9 quarters.

For the sake of context, the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa has 739 yards and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts has a 9.1 yards per attempt average.

Mills has thrown only 2 touchdowns this season. While 4 teams have less. 4 other teams, the Washington Commanders, Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills have 7 passing touchdowns each.

Houston Texans Offensive Players

An argument that Mills doesn’t have the talent around him to thrive is easily made. Especially with highlights like the tweet from @IndepthTexans above.

However, it’s easy to go the other way, as evidenced by the tweet at the top from @TexansCap which offers a far more complete picture than just one single play.

The offensive line is not good. However, having Justin Britt out and rookie Kenyon Green in certainly seems like an upgrade - even if they play different positions.

Houston Texans running game

Unlike last season, the Texans seem to have a run threat for the first time since Carlos Hyde rode off into the sunset. Rookie Dameon Pierce has 102 yards on 26 attempts for a 3.92 yard per carry average. That number is a bit skewed due to his poor usage in week 1. Last Sunday, against the Orange Donkeys, Pierce ran for a 69 yards and a 4.6 yards per carry average. At that rate, if he’d had the ball another 7 times, he would have had his first 100-yard game.

Most struggling young quarterbacks would pay good money to have a tailback like Pierce and a WR1 like Brandin Cooks. Not to mention a defense that has kept them in games.

So, the jury is still out on Mills - but it’s not looking good so far. Can he turn things around against a better defense this weekend? With the Bears, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders coming up - and a telltale game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (who blanked the Colts last weekend... ha!), it’s easy to see the Texans at 0-5-1 when the Not-The-Oilers come to town on October 30th.

Until then the question remains: Is Davis Mills the Answer or the Problem?

Or, is he simply keeping the seat warm for Alabama Crimson Tide passer Bryce Young, Ohio State Buckeye quarterback C.J. Stroud or a veteran the Texans acquire in a trade?

Walter Football

With Alabama’s offense struggling against Texas, (Bryce) Young put his team on his back and used his feet and then his arm to put up 10 fourth-quarter points to lead the Crimson Tide to the comeback win over the Longhorns. In 2022, Young has completed 67 percent of his passes for 408 yards and six touchdowns. He has 144 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as well.

(C.J.) Stroud and Ohio State blew out Arkansas State in Week 2. In 2022, Stroud has completed 73 percent of his passes for 941 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.