The future, 49ers ahead, Phillip Dorsett & more | Dear Drew

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David Hyde: Dear Drew, Will the Texans be playoff spoilers to 49ers this weekend?
DD: I'd be cool with it, David. Houston was eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago but is 3-3 over the last six weeks. San Francisco, meanwhile, is in the playoffs if they win these final two games. Regardless of what other teams do, if the 49ers just win these two, they're playing in the postseason, but a 49ers win on Sunday combined with a Saints loss or tie versus Carolina would push them into the playoffs.

If the Texans and 49ers were gross and tied, then San Francisco could still get in the playoffs with a Vikings loss or tie versus Green Bay, a New Orleans loss and an Atlanta loss or tie against the Buffalo Bills, but let's just beat the 49ers.

Rico, 'The Desert Panther': Dear Drew, Has Phillip Dorsett played his way onto this team heading into next year?
DD: Cool name. It sure looks like he has. Dorsett, unfortunately, is done for the season because of an ankle injury, but he certainly made an impact in the three games he played. In the two wins, his catches were game-changers. The 33-yard reception on third down in the third quarter at Jacksonville got the Texans into the red zone, and they got a field goal a few plays later. Last Sunday, his diving grab late in the first half took the Texans from their own nine-yard line to their 45 and helped them get the Conley touchdown shortly thereafter.

He's certainly someone who looks to be in the mix in 2022.

Check out the best photos from the Texans win in Week 16 over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Alfred Wilson: Dear Drew, Who do you think will be our quarterback for next year?
DD: It's looking like Davis Mills, isn't it? He's steadily making progress and has definitely played better since he became the starter again three weeks ago. In that trio of games, the Texans have won two. He's completed an average of 69 percent of his passes, thrown five touchdowns, been picked off once and taken only four sacks. His quarterback rating is 105.3, and perhaps most importantly, we're seeing and hearing from him, his coaches and teammates about choices he's making and chances he's taking at the line of scrimmage.

Look at the touchdown pass he threw last Sunday to Chris Conley before the half. The Texans looked like they were taking their time in the final moments of the second quarter, content to get into field goal position and/or burn too much time off the game clock for Justin Herbert and the Chargers to get the ball back and score, but Mills saw something from Los Angeles' defense. Conley described what happened on the 41-yarder that gave Houston a lead it wouldn't surrender.

"Davis was able to recognize the coverage and put it up," Conley said. "It's not a play that was scripted to go deep, but he took a chance right there."

Mills took a chance later in the fourth quarter and hit Nico Collins for a touchdown.

That's very encouraging, and Mills has said the game has slowed down some for him.

Adam R.: Dear Drew, What can Davis Mills show us next to further reinforce that he is ready to blossom as the Texans' starting QB?
DD: Thanks for the question, Adam. Kind of along the lines of my answer above, I think he needs to keep moving the chains, getting the Texans into the end zone, and keep on making changes and decisions at the line of scrimmage that take advantage of mismatches in the Texans favor.

Overall, though, I'm going to take Mills' approach on what his future holds: I'll not get too high after the good times and not too low after the bad ones. He's had both this season but outwardly has remained even-keel after each. He's always exuded confidence as well and an unflappability. I'm intrigued by his future and look forward to seeing more of it, starting this Sunday on the West Coast.

Joseph Gillespie: Dear Drew, Are the Texans moving in the right direction? Examples of how?
DD: Because of the way Mills is making progress and the team is playing around him. It looks like they are. He, and they, have to sustain it, though, but it's certainly encouraging. Mills and the other four draft picks from the 2021 class have all seen significant playing time and been contributors. If General Manager Nick Caserio and the company can add another crop of impactful rookies, then the growth will get accelerated. Remember, the Texans have picks in the first and second rounds, with a pair of picks in the third, along with a fourth, three sixths and a seventh. So Houston has more ammo in late April than they have since the 2019 NFL Draft.

J MTZ: Dear Drew, Do you think we'll continue to see the more creative play calls this week that we saw against the Chargers?
DD: I think because Mills is commanding the offense better, we'll see better execution of the play calls. Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly said Thursday that Mills is taking what he's seeing in the film room and doing a better job of applying it on the field in games. If that continues, and he continues to process what he's seeing at a more rapid rate than he did in September and October, the offense will run more smoothly.

The Doctor's Doctor: Dear Drew, Where does last week's win rank in terms of "most fun" wins in team history?
DD: It was a lot of fun, Doctor. It's the most fun I've had at a Texans game since the playoff win over Buffalo two years ago. 2020 and 2021 have been tough years around here, and given the absences last Sunday due to COVID-19, very little was expected from the Texans. The defense came up with three takeaways, scoring on one of them. The offense had nine possessions, scoring on six of them and kneeling in the victory formation on a seventh. There were touchdowns on the ground, touchdowns through the air and a 51-yard field goal from a rookie who joined the team mid-week.

It was no playoff clincher at Cincy in 2011, but it was a hell of a fun time.

Watch the Houston Texans take on the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 9. Kickoff is at noon. Click here for tickets.

The Houston Texans roster in photos.

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