The Runner Sports

Tony Romo Leaves Texans At The Altar

Tony Romo has officially transitioned from the boy next door to the one that got away.

First reported Tuesday by Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport, news broke that Romo is stepping away from the NFL to pursue a career in broadcasting. The current Cowboys quarterback is heading to CBS to serve as a replacement for Phil Simms. He will end his career with over 2,800 completed passes, a 65.3% completion rate, 34,183 passing yards, 248 touchdowns, and 117 interceptions. Romo also finishes third all-time with a career passer rating of 97.1.

The Cowboys are obviously set at the position with second-year starter Dak Prescott, but how does this affect other teams? Well, the Texans and Broncos were the two main options for Romo to start, but the ramifications are vastly different. Denver still has a solid enough starter in Trevor Siemian plus a youngster to groom for the job in Paxton Lynch. The Texans, on the other hand, have Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage.

Largely an afterthought for his career, Weeden is the quintessential backup. He has the tools to run an offense with a big arm and decent mobility, but he has never shown a true ability to read defenses and avoid mistakes. His best games as a pro have actually come in Houston with victories over Indianapolis and Tennessee that led to a division win. Weeden can be counted on to win one or two games if needed but shouldn’t be used as the starter.

With the loss of Romo, Savage now becomes the de facto starter heading into offseason activities. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to predict his future as the Texans’ quarterback simply because there isn’t enough information. Savage has only played in five games during his first three seasons, completing 56 of his 92 attempted passes for 588 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. He has also fumbled three times. Sure, Savage has a very strong arm and much better control of Bill O’Brien’s offense than any other player, but he has an injury history. Savage missed the entire 2015 season with a shoulder injury and missed out on the opportunity to start two playoff games with a concussion in 2016. He could turn into a reliable quarterback much like Matthew Stafford, but Savage is just too much of an unknown right now.

Houston only has two quarterbacks on the roster with Weeden and Savage, so they will need to find another body quickly. They could go the veteran route with Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, or Matt McGloin, but these aren’t viable options. Kaepernick has astounding mobility and a big arm, but he fails to throw the ball deep or beyond the first down markers. He wouldn’t be the best for reincorporating DeAndre Hopkins into the offense.

Like Kaepernick, Cutler has the necessary tools to be a starter, but he has shown complete inability to lead a team without committing head-scratching turnovers. The perfect example of this is a 2012 game against the Vikings where Cutler air-mailed a pass into triple coverage (on third-and-one) that was intercepted by safety Harrison Smith. To make matters worse for Cutler, Smith returned the pass 56 yards for a touchdown. No, Houston would be better served finding a quarterback who can take better care of the ball.

Of course, avoiding the veterans means that the best option for the Texans will be drafting a quarterback in an uninspiring class. Every quarterback in this year’s class has question marks, but there are some intriguing options in Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, and Deshaun Watson. Sitting in the back quarter of the draft does essentially take away one or two of those names, so the Texans could take an offensive lineman in the first round and take a shot with Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs or Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. Both players are projects and would need to sit for at least a year, but they could become a future stud for Houston.

Missing out on Tony Romo is rough for the Texans, but at least they have a couple options as the draft nears. Will Rick Smith make a move in the next three weeks, or will he sit tight and see how the draft plays out?

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John Newby

A Minnesota Vikings fan from Oregon who writes about the Houston Texans and discusses nerdy topics.
Quite fond of my wife, video games, and Blue Heelers.
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