Lovie Smith isn’t willing to consider changing quarterback Davis Mills for the one-win Texans.
Smith told reporters after Sunday’s 24-16 loss to the Giants: “I just don’t think it’s time. The quarterback position is different.”
Mills played poorly in the first half of a road game in New York. On the first play from scrimmage, the QB rolled off play action and had an open O.J. Howard in the flat but failed to connect. The game was a harbinger of Mills’ future struggles, as he spiked several balls in the dirt and struggled to find consistent range against Big Blue’s disguised blitz.
In the first three possessions, the Texans went three-and-out partly because Mills threw off target and rookie running back Dameon Pierce was stonewalled at the line. On six of three passes, Mills gained 35 yards in the first half. On 26 plays through two quarters, the Texans gained 86 yards, 44 of which came from Pierce running.
“To see what the game plan is supposed to be, you have to sustain drives,” Smith said.
In the second half, Mills threw for 319 yards on 22-of-37 with a touchdown and an interception, but much of that came after the Texans were behind by double digits.
As a result of Mills’ poor decisions, he fluctuates from making splash plays to not knowing when to give up on a route. His fourth-quarter interception was an example of Mills sticking with a route to the end zone too long and forcing the ball to a receiver who wasn’t open for it.
Smith explained that sometimes when the deep route is covered, you check the ball down. “That’s not good enough. We’re trying to get to (manageable) third downs, so you have to push the ball at least that distance.”
Despite a holding penalty, Mills noted that his interception, which came a play after a touchdown by Brandin Cooks, was a mistake.
“I need to be smarter with the ball there,” Mills said. “For second-and-25, we don’t need it all back at once. For scoring, I still have a lot of options. (We’re) in the red zone.”
The Texans entered the season planning to see what they had in third-round QB before determining whether they would spend a high draft pick on a quarterback. While Mills has shown flashes, he looks like a career-long backup who can win you a game here and there rather than a lift-all-boats franchise signal-caller who can win you a game here and there.
It does not make sense to bench Mills. No one needs to see what journeyman Kyle Allen can do. Barring catastrophe, keeping Mills on the field is preferable.
The Texans get closer to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with every struggling week.