In-season, I’m pumping out content faster than editing can keep up with. I don’t want to hold the recaps for hours waiting on perfection. We will correct errors after the fact, but for now – forgive any of my gaffes. I dictate some of my notes, and the computer software or Siri interpretation can be comical. I try to correct them all before publishing it, but I miss it sometimes…in the 50,000+ words I pen each week during the season (not including all the emails). I’m moving fast, and want to get the product out there ASAP at 98% ‘good’…vs. big delays trying to get to 99.9% craftsmanship. So here you go…
I walked away from the live watch of this with massive disappointment. I was a Tom Savage hype man all week, and since 2014. After his Week 15 insertion into the national football conversation, we were all a little giddy on Savage. No passing TDs and 176 passing yards later…everyone is moving on.
It was a funny week for me and Savage. I’ve been crying about him for 2+ seasons…and then I wake up Monday morning, after his Jacksonville come from behind victory, and suddenly ‘everybody loves Savage‘. How is this possible? It makes me sick, like a jealous lover. For 2+ years all everyone in football has done is ignore Tom Savage. He was a non-factor. Not in any discussion as the Texans best QB on the roster the past two seasons. All of a sudden, in less than 24 hours, all these unaware, numb nut football analysts are talking about how much better Savage is than Brock Osweiler, and how his better/stronger arm makes him the right call. They all got their talking points from wherever and went out and echoed them…dutifully.
I know not a one mainstream analyst knows a damn thing about Tom Savage. It makes me sick. Oddly, I mock them all for ignoring Savage for 2+ years, and then the second they start giving lip service about him as the beloved QB du jour…I’m mad about that too. Will nothing make me happy?
It gets worse.
Once this game unfolds/ends, and Savage doesn’t throw for 500+ yards with 5+ TDs…it’s ‘moving on’ for all of them. Ignored for 2+ years, and then everyone’s favorite QB they KNOW is better than Osweiler. Now, they are asking for Osweiler back. At halftime of the SNF game, I watched 10 seconds of the NFL Network halftime show to see Deion Sanders making a mockery of Savage. First, I want to say Deion Sanders is the most useless, empty NFL analyst in the history of football. I’d say that, but I don’t want to insult Michael Irvin. Second, how is this possible? How do these people stay employed knowing nothing about players, and jumping on and off their bandwagons and no one calls them out on it?
It’s sickening. I know how long this takes. I know how long study of all NFL games and all NFL Draft prospects takes in a year — 70+ hours a week…legit. To watch it all, and that’s still 50-70 hours short of what I’d like to put into it. Deion Sanders doesn’t put in 7 hours a week…or a month…if just watching a game live or watching highlights doesn’t count.
I’m using Sanders as my example…but they all fall under this banner. The only person dispensing any real knowledge about football is Michael Lombardi, former NFL everything in personnel now turned rising media star. The good news is…most of our fantasy competitors are listening to ESPN’s Trey Wingo comment on what QBs are wearing as they get off the bus.
Put a pin in the Savage bandwagon thought for a moment.
Back to the game… It was 6-3 Houston with 11+ minutes left in the 4th quarter. Savage had less than 100 yards passing. It was a battle of two inept offenses, and one of them was going to less inept the other to win it. Andy Dalton was a mess all game as well, but then hit Brandon LaFell on an unassuming simple crosser/slant to the short middle…and Brian Cushing, who has lost a step or ten the past couple of years, missed a tackle/couldn’t catch up or close in and everyone else stood still…and LaFell raced for an 86-yard TD…a two-yard throw and an 84-yard run through the Houston mannequin challenge. It was a shame because it was a defensive gem by Houston up until that point.
Houston answered right back with their only TD of the game to take a 12-10 lead. Cincy drove down in a two-minute drill to set up for a game-winning FG…and the kick was missed. Houston holds on to win the game…and the division.
Everyone walks away from this thinking the Texans are lucky and/or suck…and it’s what they think about Tom Savage.
— I re-watched this game with a specific plan in mind – I watched the ‘all 22’ overview tape of every drop back Tom Savage (18-29 for 176 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) made. I wanted to see what the issue was. I had a specific suspicion, but I wanted to re-watch the game from Savage’s viewpoint to be sure.
Here’s the short version: This was one of the better ‘worst statistical performances’ from a QB you’ll see. We should all take heart or not be dismayed by what we think we saw…and/or what the moronic mainstream football analysis of it is.
The long version…
No one was open.
In key spots, the Texans’ receivers dropped the ball.
But mostly no one was open.
Every play seemed the same…like watching Vikings or Rams’ passing plays. Two wide receivers go medium-deep. The tight end releases over the middle. The defense knows it and covers it with ease + the O-Line is bad so the QB doesn’t have a lot of time for these deeper plays to unfold. It makes the QB look like an idiot – it wasn’t on Savage, he played the board as best he could. Unlike Osweiler, Savage processed what was happening and when it wasn’t there — he threw it away or ate a sack versus constantly heaving it into trouble. Savage had a near pick or two, but it really was not egregious.
The second quarter of this game was a joke. The Texans would run the ball twice to lead into a third and 3-10 yards to go events. Savage would hit a receiver in the hands for a first down (and room for more) and the receivers just didn’t make the plays. Some shocking drops…other’s tough catches with hands on the ball, but catch not made.
When it wasn’t a drops issue it was simply no one open and Savage in trouble. I watched the overview…no one was open. I swear it was like watching the Rams under Jeff Fisher all over again. The Texans played conservative and were forced into known passing downs and the defense covered the predictable routes.
With 11 minutes left in the game, Cincy had just scored to make it 10-6 Bengals. Savage was 13-of-24 for 115 yards for the game at that point. Urgency hit the Texans. They sped up the offense and altered predictability…and Savage went 5-for-5 for 61 yards the rest of the game. Right after the Cincy score to grab the 10-6 lead, Savage gunned the team right down the field to a TD drive to grab the lead back.
To me, Savage was flashing signs of Tom Brady all throughout this game…what would happen to Brady if he was stifled by the play calling…and if he was a backup for three years and had no succinct timing down with ‘the ones’. Savage was patient under duress. Nothing was open on many throws, and Savage smartly maneuvered from pressure to buy more time or just threw the pass away. His ‘throwing passes away’ were brilliant. Usually, you see QBs panicking for their life and desperately heaving passes to the sidelines…or making the decision to bail on the play/throw it away too quickly, after one read. Savage looked like he was playing chess, and when all his progressions were taken away he just calmly threw the ball away before taking a sack. He’d take a hit but not a sack. He did get sacked, but he did not get jumpy under any of the constant pressure. He knew he was in for a game of getting hit and he never flinched.
It was the best worst game you’ll see from a young QB.
Society has quickly turned on/abandoned Savage…those in deeper dynasty leagues, etc. should use this moment to jump after him cheap. He’s going to be the Texans’ QB for the future. I virtually guarantee it. I’m not saying that as a Savage homer. Lining up what various sources are saying…I like what I am finding out behind-the-scenes on Savage. It’s sickening how many people knew Savage was the best QB on the team and the GM panicked and spent $72M (really $36M) on Osweiler. Why I’ll never make it into employment in the NFL – I’d have to be the main scout, GM, President, and head coach to effect the change I wanted.
Argue about Savage in O’Brien’s offense…do not debate whether Savage is good or the future. He is and he is. An entire offseason with him might change what O’Brien does.
— Here’s another issue… DeAndre Hopkins (3-43-0/6 targets) is not getting open. He’s really not that great of an athlete. In the era of Tyreek Hill and Tyrell Williams…DeAndre Hopkins is just a really good receiver. He’s going to want #1 WR money next year…and if the Texans are smart (and they haven’t been for years) they will not sign Hopkins long term. He’s a great #2 WR in an ensemble. He’s not a game-changing #1.
If I were the Texans’ GM, I would keep Hopkins for 2017 with no intention of signing him long term. Let him play out his contract giving 110% as he works to get a big contract. I’d draft or sign two other WRs in 2017 that I saw as my future…because it isn’t Will Fuller or Braxton Miller either. I swear I think the Texans drafted players in 2016 based on a draft magazine they grabbed off the rack at Walmart.
This ‘bad’ Hopkins season. It might not be the QB play at all, but rather issues/limitations with Hopkins.
— How the hell did Bengals rookie WR Cody Core (8-39-0/14 targets) have 14 targets in this game?
You would have thought, as I did, re-watching this game that Core was mistaken for A.J. Green by Andy Dalton. It was shocking.
Shocking, because of the sheer stupidity.
Core is not that good and was eventually being covered by shutdown corner A.J. Bouye (9 tackles) most every play and still Dalton risked it. Dalton should have seen Bouye on Core, and thought…”Great. Now, I’ll go to anyone else but Core.” Instead, Dalton tried to force the ball to Core way too much in quarters two and three (this Dalton had worse numbers than Savage until the LaFell 86-yard miracle). The Bengals lost, in part, because Andy Dalton is an idiot. I cannot believe what he did with Core-Bouye in quarters two and three. It boggles my mind.
We must note…something is afoot. You don’t throw to Core 14 times, many against Bouye if something hasn’t happened. Either Core is Dalton’s new BFF or Dalton has NO trust in Tyler Boyd among others. OR Andy Dalton and the Cincy coaches have no idea who A.J. Bouye is and thought it was a great matchup for them. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
I don’t think Core is a great WR prospect. He belongs in the NFL, but not as a star/starter, I don’t think.
Consider this – Laquon Treadwell sucks. Cody Core was the ‘other guy’ WR for Ole Miss in 2015…the ‘not used much’ guy as everything went Treadwell.
Earlier I wrote Treadwell was made by/worked with Prescott. I got my Mississippi schools crossed up. Prescott was not the QB at Ole Miss but Miss State.
I added a line to an already finished piece driving between family visits this morning and it made sense in my head. I was trying express that Cody Core was nothing on college tape when I watched him because Treadwell got everything…that bugged me about Core right from the beginning. Dak entered my head as the Ole Miss QB…and I was like “Oh, that’s a great point. No one I’ve heard has connected that on Treadwell (or Core) that I can recall!”
I think I know why I hadn’t nor anyone else connected the thought of a Dak-Treadwell-Core connection…the fact that it didn’t exist! Sometimes to many players are in my head, and apparently they can change teams in my cranium. Too much egg nog…but I don’t drink egg nog.