From his rookie season to now, Tom Savage has been preparing for the chance to win the Texans starting quarterback job. Even as the most experienced quarterback in Bill O'Brien's offense, Savage's approach remains the same.
"It's a great opportunity," Savage said Wednesday. "I hate to say it's special because I have to go out there and I have to earn it every day. It'll be special at the end of the season."
Unlike his previous seasons as backup and third-string quarterback, Savage is getting first-team reps in OTAs this offseason, which means more time with the starters and a new approach to developing chemistry.
"I think a little more of it is in the communication, obviously, with some of the guys," Savage said. "When you're a third-string quarterback, you're not really going up to DeAndre Hopkins and telling him how you want a bow route or something. Now communication comes in and you have to be on the same page with all of them. That's what we're working on now."
Savage also faces the first-team defense in OTA practice. Under league rules, OTAs are non-contact and without pads, but the Texans fourth-year quarterback still takes advantage of going up against the top defense in the NFL.
"These guys – obviously, J.J. (Watt) and (Jadeveon) Clowney and those guys would love to rip my head off but they can't because we're not in pads," Savage said. "Luckily they never will be able to. But you're able to go out there and just kind of work on each throw and – I don't want to say knowing you're not getting hit – but getting the ball out and the defense is letting us throw the ball even if they are coming through. It's kind of what we need."
Houston currently has three quarterbacks on the roster: Savage, DeAndre Hopkins, and rookie Deshaun Watson. The Texans wrap up OTAs with four remaining practices on June 5-6 and June 8-9 at the Houston Methodist Training Center. A three-day mandatory veteran minicamp will take place June 13 through June 15.
Check out some of the best shots from the second week of Texans OTAs.