Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nam Y Huh/AP/Shutterstock (13419235bb) Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) throws a pass against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game, in Chicago Texans Bears Football, Chicago, United States - 25 Sep 2022

Smith on QB change: “Just don’t think it’s time”

Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith shot down questions about a potential change at quarterback for his 1-7-1 team.

Following their Week 10 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, head coach Lovie Smith addressed media questions regarding the quarterback position and whether he is considering making a change.

He made it clear he is not.

However, his refusal to entertain a quarterback change at this time does not mean he is happy with the play of Davis Mills.

As part of his opening remarks, Smith plainly stated:

“On the offensive side of the football, you can’t turn it over; it’s kind of simple as that. Those turnovers were really big.”

“Offensively, got to score more points than that. We had the opportunity; we were down in the red zone quite a few times. Got to be able to get it in.”

While one of those turnovers came from RB Dameon Pierce inside the New York 10-yard line, the team was able to overcome that turnover by getting a three-and-out and then driving back down the field into the red zone. The second turnover came on a terrible throw by Mills, immediately following two plays in which the Texans were penalized, including the immediate preceding play where a penalty negated a touchdown.

Mills badly underthrew a ball into double coverage in the end zone on a play where Phillip Dorsett was behind both defensive backs. The underthrown ball was easily intercepted, as Dorsett never even had a chance to compete for it. It was a forced ball that reflected the kind of immature decision-making the Texans hoped Mills would be long past.

When addressing the team’s red zone struggles and that play specifically, Smith panned:

“We’ve got to protect the ball better, make better decisions on some of those.”

It is certainly not the first time Smith has publicly addressed his quarterback’s poor decision-making. Earlier in the season, Smith remarked about poor decision-making on RPOs, and that the quarterback seemed to choose the wrong way far too often. These poor decisions are symptomatic of a young quarterback who is not progressing in his development.

Coach Smith got a little salty when asked about the multitude of third down passes that were thrown well short of the needed yardage to convert the first down, often in the face of pressure, although he admitted he was not pleased with the outcomes:

“What do you mean? Was the game plan for us to throw it short and not get the first? You know, sometimes, when the deep route is covered, you check it down. We can’t do that to answer your
question. That’s not good enough. Normally on third downs, we’re trying to [convert] third downs, so you’ve got to push your ball at least that, yes.”

The first time Smith was directly asked about considering a change at quarterback, he mostly deflected the answer:

“Quarterback – we needed to play better today. I mean, that’s pretty much it.”

When pressed on the issue, with reference made to the fact the Texans rotate players at other positions and asked what was preventing him from making a change, the head coach explained:

“Just don’t think it’s time, as simple as that. Quarterback position is a little bit different. We rotate
pretty much at most positions; we play more than one guy. Quarterback position is a little bit different.
We can’t turn the ball over. Acknowledging what we did today is not good enough, and anytime we’re
turning the ball over, especially in the red zone, it’s not good enough. But that’s where we are right now.”

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