Before Tom Savage is a Pro Bowler, he'll have to beat out Case Keenum.
A day after the rookie quarterback helped engineer a game-winning touchdown drive at Denver, his head coach offered up praise, with caution.
"Let's be real clear here now: he's got a long way to go," Bill O'Brien said. "We're not headed for Hawaii and the Pro Bowl now. We're talking about battling for the number two job."
With Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, Keenum has taken to bulk of the reps this preseason as the backup. But O'Brien said Sunday that Savage has "closed the gap" and made the competition much closer.
"I would say that Keenum's still two, but it's a good tight race between two really competitive guys," O'Brien said.
Savage completed 5-of-6 passes against the Broncos for 68 yards and a touchdown. Keenum, meanwhile, was 11-of-18 for 74 yards. The third-year signal caller said he should've taken what the defense gave him against Denver.
"I wasn't as crisp as I wanted to be," Keenum said on Saturday night. "A few passes kind of came out wrong and I tried to force a few things when I needed to check the ball down."
Savage, however, gave Keenum and Fitzpatrick credit for helping him on the final drive against the Broncos. Even though he's competing with Keenum, Savage said the veteran was quick to offer up tips on what the defense was showing, and was very helpful.
"It's great to have his support, even though we are competing," Savage said. "We really work together and at the end of the day it's trying to get the team to win. That's all that really matters."
Against the 49ers on Thursday, Keenum and Savage will likely see more playing time.