Tom Savage is the backup quarterback behind Brock Osweiler, according to head coach Bill O'Brien. Savage and five-year veteran DeAndre Hopkins have been competing for the No. 2 spot throughout training camp.
"I would say right now it's Tom Savage, I think he's number two right now," O'Brien said Thursday. "But that's not to say that (Brandon) Weeden hasn't done a good job. I think Weeden has really improved. Tom has been in our system for three years, Weeden's only been in it for about eight months or close to a year. Tom's a little bit ahead in that regard but both guys, what stands out to me about both guys as backup players is that they really throw the ball very, very well. They spin the ball very nicely."
Weeden, claimed off waivers last November, helped lead the Texans to their first franchise win in Indianapolis last year when T.J. Yates left with a knee injury. After being drafted in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, Savage is the only quarterback that has been in the system since O'Brien's first season as the Texans head coach.
Now after three years in the system, Savage's mental reps have far outnumbered his physical ones. From being a third-string backup his rookie year to injuries, Savage's snaps have been limited due to a number of unfortunate circumstances.
As a rookie in 2014, he was inactive for most of the season but got his chance under center in Week 15 at Indianapolis when Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a leg injury. Savage finished the game but was sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury of his own.
After working his way back, Savage landed on injured reserve following a shoulder injury in the final preseason game. The Texans needed four different quarterbacks to get through the 2015 season, but Savage had to watch and wait. Unable to practice, Savage attended quarterback meetings, diligently taking notes, and preparing himself for a chance to play.
He hopes the third time's the charm.
"He's put a lot of time in on the field and off the field," O'Brien said Aug. 6. "He's really worked hard to change his body, become stronger, become quicker, quicker release. He has a much better knowledge of our offense. It takes a while for that position. The only thing Tom needs is an opportunity. Tom is a good football player and he's put a lot of time in to get to where he is right now."
Savage took a majority of the snaps in the Texans first preseseason game against the 49ers, after Brock Osweiler exited in the second quarter. He completed 14-of-24 passes for 168 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers, and a 107.6 passer rating in his first outing.
Now he hopes he can take all of his football knowledge and apply it when his number is called.
"I never want to waste any time," Savage said. "I want to take all of those days and never waste a day and just keep preparing for this moment."
Check out the best fan photos from Thursday's joint #TexansCamp practice with the Saints.