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T.J. Yates ready to go, Heinicke likely backup QB

Posted Dec 13, 2017

T.J. Yates is ready to start Sunday's game at Jacksonville and will likely have a new backup quarterback.

T.J. Yates will start Sunday’s game against the first-place Jacksonville Jaguars. With Tom Savage is still in the league’s concussion protocol, Yates will now have a full week of first-team reps in practice, but his familiarity with the offense eases the transition from backup to starter.

“He’s been there before,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “He knows our system. He’s a smart guy. I thought he did some good things on Sunday in a tough spot. It’s not hard to get him ready, you know what I mean? It’s more about getting the team physically ready to go from a health standpoint, that’s the big thing. T.J. (Yates) will be ready to go.”

Yates returns to Jacksonville where, in 2011, he made his NFL debut. As a rookie, he completed 8-of-15 passes for 70 yards after Matt Leinart left the game with a shoulder injury. The Texans hope to avoid losing two consecutive games to the Jaguars, after their 29-7 Week 1 loss at NRG Stadium. The Jaguars defense recorded ten sacks on Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson, collectively.

“We know what type of defense we’re going up against and how talented they are up front and in the backend, so we have to be sharp,” Yates said. “Definitely the ball has to come out quick.”

With Savage out for Sunday, the Texan will likely elevate Taylor Heinicke to the active roster as a backup quarterback. Heinicke, a third-year quarterback out of Old Dominion, spent time on the Vikings active roster before being released Sept. 11 and also three weeks on the Patriots practice squad this year.

“I like a lot of things about him,” O’Brien said. “I think he’s smart. I think he’s an accurate passer. I think he makes good decisions, so far in practice. I think he’s picked up our system pretty well so far. I think he’s mobile. He can make plays on his own. So, there’s a lot of things I like.”

The Texans have won three consecutive games in Jacksonville and are 6-1 against the Jaguars under head coach Bill O’Brien (2014-17. Kickoff for Sunday’s game is at noon on CBS and SportsRadio 610.

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