Davis Mills looks to rebound from benching like last season

Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Locher/AP/Shutterstock (13489125ak) Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, in Las Vegas Texans Raiders Football, Las Vegas, United States – 23 Oct 2022

Davis Mills looks to rebound from benching like last season

After being benched last year, Mills returned to the starting lineup and played strong football for the Houston Texans in the final five weeks of the season. Can he do it again?

Thursday, Davis Mills spoke to the media for the first time since reclaiming the starting quarterback job for the Houston Texans. Mills addressed the similarities in the situations from last season to this season, where he will once again take over as the starting quarterback for the final five games after a brief benching:

“I hope we get similar results to last year. I felt like last year, when I was able to come back for the second time, I played really well at the end of the season. These past two weeks allowed me to sit back and continue to learn. Early on in the season and as the season progresses, there’s a whirlwind of everything as you play a game, watch the film immediately after the game, and then you’re quickly on to the next opponent. There’s not really a time to sit there and evaluate what you’re doing. You’re just trying to progress as the season goes, but these last two weeks really allowed me to sit back and start piecing some more things together in my mind of what it takes to be successful out there. Hopefully, we can fall back to those fundamentals that I’ve been doing my whole life and as Pep (Hamilton) has taught me since I’ve been here in Houston, to go out there and play some successful football.”

Mills explained how he processed the mental reps while watching from the sideline:

“Just going back to those fundamentals, shaping my thoughts pre-snap. Pep (Hamilton) was talking to you about that acronym before. Just seeing what you need to see mentally and having that pre-snap checklist every play based on what play we’re given on offense. Safety, slot defender, see the shell of the defense, and know what you need to see any given play. If there’s nothing open downfield once you snap the ball, simplify it and find a check down instead of trying to do too much.

“When you’re not in there, and you’re watching somebody else in the position, or just in the week of preparation, you have film study to do it. You can check the pre-snap stuff from the film or looking at the Microsoft Surface tablets on the sideline in between drives to make sure what you’re seeing out there is confirmed, and they’re not catching you in disguises and different things in that regard. The biggest thing is simplifying everything, going out there and executing.”

Mills stated that while there are similarities to his situation from last season, there is a key difference:

“Similarities, it’s a pretty similar spot in the season. The difference is my role on the team prior to getting taken out and getting put back it. Really the mindset going forward and even while I was out is you’re still preparing to be the starter. You’re preparing like you’re going to be in there on any given snap, so not too much has changed. The only thing that has been different is the two weeks off to reflect on how to be a better quarterback so you can take advantage of the opportunity next time you get it.”

Mills admitted he wanted to play through his struggles:

“I think that was the coaches’ decision to make at the time. Obviously, I want to be out there every snap, but that’s just not how it was.”

He said he did his best to use the time on the sideline to reflect and to grow:

“It’s tough. It’s a real business, and when things aren’t going your way, it’s tough at times. I’m a very realistic person. You can only really deal with what’s in your future rather than what’s in your past. Take it one step at a time, and the process is the same. Like I said, the preparation is the same. I was just waiting for my next opportunity to get out here.”

Mills appreciates that his teammates stuck by him:

“It’s great when you have a lot of trust in your teammates, and they have trust in you. That’s what it takes to win football games. I’m still a very confident football player. I didn’t lose any confidence in these two weeks, and I’m excited to get out there on Sunday.”

Has he worked with Pep Hamilton to make some changes to the game plan?

“We haven’t fully pieced the game plan together yet. We still have a couple of days before the game. Really as we get into later this afternoon and tomorrow, we’ll start doing some of that for the first 15, first 20 thoughts as we come out of the game. There are some looks that we’re excited for this week and some plays we’ve put in to combat what they’ve shown on defense. We’re excited to do that and make it simple for us on offense to go out there and start moving the ball.”

At the end of the day, Mills just wants to be doing two things:

“Winning games. Playing good football.”

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