Is this Davis Mills response terrific or terrifying?

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

Is this Davis Mills response terrific or terrifying?

Did Davis Mills just call himself a “game manager”?

Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills met with the media Wednesday, and as he usually does, he answered every question calmly.

One of the things about Mills is he never shows emotion on the podium, whether that is by nature or by design. He is calm, cool, and collected with the media at all times. He praises teammates, downplays how important or difficult a role he plays, and isn’t afraid to utilize coachspeak and clichés when needed.

Not one to seek attention, Mills may have inadvertently put a flashing red light over his head with an answer he gave to the media Wednesday.

The Texans have made it a point to focus on the running game this season, and to date, the running game has been the area the team has improved the most. Maybe it is because we are conditioned for quarterbacks to ooze confidence and charisma, maybe there is a preconceived notion that quarterbacks should want to be playmakers, but when Mills was asked Wednesday how the success of the run game changes how he does things, his answer raised a few eyebrows:

“It doesn’t change anything in particular. My job as a quarterback is to make sure the offense is getting in and out of the huddle efficiently, running the right plays, making sure we’re all on the same page, protect the football and then get the ball out to playmakers in space,—nothing more, nothing less. On third down and in the red zone, there will be situations where I’ll need to extend some plays, get out of the pocket and make a play if the defense catches us and ends up playing our concept well. But other than that, protect the football and score points.”

At first glance, maybe there is nothing here. He is just deflecting yet another question about his job and performance and trying to downplay things so he can move on to the next question—nothing to see here. Move along.

Yet, when you take a second glance, did Mills just call himself a “game manager”?

They are the two most dreaded words in any quarterback conversation. The mere mention of these two words makes fans cringe, especially those searching for a franchise quarterback who can lead their team for the next decade.

“Get in and out of the huddle,” “on the same page,” “protect the football” these are coachspeak-type phrases, but they are also the exact phrases used to describe a “game manager” type of quarterback.

“Game manager” quarterbacks are not necessarily bad players; they just aren’t franchise guys. They are entrusted not to lose the game more than win it, kept to a tight script, follow the plan, and the team tries to grind out a win. When they get off script or are asked to make big plays to win a game, they usually struggle to find success.

Whether Mills was just downplaying yet another question about his play to the media is certainly debatable and probably likely. However, for a quarterback struggling as much as he has this season, those words will raise eyebrows and make heads pop up because they sound like an admission of what many Texans fans had hoped would not be the case.

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