Houston Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is looking for faster decisions from his veteran quarterback.
In meeting the media in his weekly Thursday appearance, Hamilton expressed optimism that getting Kyle Allen more reps in practice after starting his first game of the season last week will help spur him and the offense forward:
“He’s been able to get more reps with the guys he will play with on Sunday, so we’re hoping that means we’re going to get the ball out one hitch sooner.”
Pep thinks the extra reps will coincide positively with Allen’s experience:
“Just having a more comprehensive understanding of NFL defense. He’s played in a few games; he’s started some games, so he’s able to process a lot of information just a bit faster than a guy who has less experience.”
Hamilton explained the biggest key for the Texans’ offense to combat defenses stacking the box against RB Dameon Pierce:
“Just have balance. That’s important. I think we’ve talked about that before. It’s important that you present balance on any given play. The potential of running the football as well as throwing the football so that they don’t have to defend just one thing. Teams that we’ve faced in the previous three or four weeks, they’ve covered up all of our offensive linemen and tried to create one-on-one blocks up front. When that happens, we have to do a really good job just featuring some of the guys that are closer to the line of scrimmage that can run routes downfield.”
Hamilton explained the decision to switch from Davis Mills to Allen is not about talent or ability but about decision-making:
“I don’t know that it’s what we’ll be able to do as much as when you have a guy that has played in a few more games; you would hope that he is able to process things maybe just a tad bit faster and get the ball out quicker and more consistently.”
He also admitted the decision on the starting quarterback is about now, not next month or next season:
“We’re just focusing on this next game. We want to stay in the moment, and coach (Lovie Smith) is ultimately going to do whatever he feels is necessary to put us in position to win the next game.”
Now, I do not think Pep is being completely honest with us there. It makes sense to sit the struggling Davis Mills for a couple of weeks to help him see things from a different angle or to help address mechanical issues to get him back in the lineup and playing better. I do not believe for one second that Mills will not be back under center in the next few weeks, possibly as soon as Week 14.
As far as what leads to faster decision making, Hamilton replied:
“It’s really the film. It’s the game day environment. It’s the reality of playing the position. There are very few opportunities that you have to get a chance to go out and play against a real pass rush. In practice, it’s one thing. But at the end of the day, you know that’s it’s just practice. It’s not a situation where you’re touching your quarterback. Guys gain experience by playing the game, but there’s more to learn by playing in some cases than not playing.”
Hamilton explained he knew going into the season that keeping the team focused and together, not allowing them to fracture in the face of adversity, was one of the responsibilities he would have this season:
“Going into it, we knew that regardless of whether or not you’re having success or not, the season is long, so you’ve got to have a way to hit reset each week. One thing that we often talk about as a unit is to not get too high with the highs or too low with the lows because from week to week, it’s all about that matchup. We’re just focusing on finding a way to win on Sunday. That’s all that matters to us.”