Brandon Carr is one of many Ravens players who have spent this week studying Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage. And there’s a competitive part of the starting cornerback that kind of, sort of wished he were preparing for rookie Deshaun Watson.
“You always want to see the top guys,” Carr said after Wednesday’s practice. “But at the same time, we really don’t care because this is the NFL and on any given Sunday, anything can happen, right? So whoever they put out there, we know that he has the keys to the offense, and he’s going to go out there and try to put it on us, and we are going to have to do the same thing.”
Watson, Houston’s first-round pick in April’s NFL draft, appeared to be the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. Although the Texans went 3-3 in his six starts, Watson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns against only eight interceptions. He also carried the ball 36 times for 269 yards and two scores.
Under Watson as the starter, the offense scored 208 points. That production dropped to 59 points in the four games that Savage started.
But Savage completed 22 of 32 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, and Houston coach Bill O’Brien said Savage is improving.
“I think the game on Sunday is probably the best game he has played since he has been playing for us,” O’Brien said Tuesday during a conference call with Baltimore media. “He does not have a ton of experience. So every game that he plays, it is really important for him to remember the things that went on during that game so [that] he can really use that experience to get better every single day and every game. I thought he did a good job of having a short memory on Sunday, and he really made some big plays for us to help us win the game.”
Savage’s performance is one reason outside linebacker Matthew Judon declined to play the what-if game regarding Watson.
“I don’t wish injury on anybody,” Judon said. “If that was their QB1 and he did not get injured, we would play him. But Tom Savage, we have to prepare for him because he is going to be their QB1.”