Today, in his 10-point stance, Mike Freeman took on the mistake that has been Brock Osweiler as a starting quarterback in Houston:
"So back to the original question: What do the Texans do about Osweiler after they likely make it into the postseason? Truthfully? Nothing. The Texans are stuck with Osweiler for their potential playoff run. The options behind him—Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage—are poor, to put it kindly. As bad as Osweiler has been, he’s likely better than what’s behind him. Another problem is the eye-popping contract they gave Osweiler, which has left them in classic slave-to-the-salary-cap mode. Benching Osweiler would be an admission the team made a colossal blunder in signing him to such a large deal. In short, the Texans can’t bench him and can’t get rid of him. They’re stuck with each other."
I agree on one thing. Osweiler is a problem. I disagree, though, that they can do nothing. This is probably not what the Houston Texans will do, because teams are won’t to admit mistakes too soon, and commit far more errors of waiting too long than moving on too early when it comes to investments.
Good organizations are good, in part, because they don’t tolerate bad. You remember when Mike Shanahan made a mistake on Maurice Clarett? They didn’t hold on to him because of the round he was picked in. Bill Belichick will cut people or trade people without hesitation.
And it’s an understatement to say that Brock Osweiler has been bad. There have been 99 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 250 passes in a season since 1978, at age 26. After adjusting to the league average, Brock Osweiler has been 98th, next to last, in terms of passing numbers, sandwiched between Rusty Hilger and Rick Mirer.
That’s bottom 2%.
The difference between MVP candidate quarterbacks and an average starter is less than the difference between Brock Osweiler and an average starter, that’s how awful he has been. He is on a team that has DeAndre Hopkins, and he has managed to neuter him. They drafted Will Fuller and signed Lamar Miller. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Brian Hoyer managed 7.1 yards per attempt a year ago, and 19 TDs to 7 ints.
Here’s are the most similar quarterbacks to Osweiler at age 26, since 1978:
That’s ugly. Jake Plummer is the best of the bunch, and Plummer had some better seasons before a rough 2000 season, and had established himself as a starter in Arizona. Ryan Fitzpatrick started the most games of the group. The average is 23.8 more games started in their NFL career, and the median much lower (only 40% started another 16 games). Only 13% of them started 8+ games in at least 4 more season, and only 13% made a single pro bowl.
How dire is that?
Consider that the average 3rd round pick since 1990 has started 21.4 games (and counting), and have made pro bowls and started for 4 or more seasons 16% of the time.
I don’t think drafting a 3rd round rookie or later as the sole strategy for finding a starter is a sufficient one. Continuing blindly with Brock Osweiler isn’t either.
Do you have to cut him? No. But you can’t come into next year with him as the unquestioned starter. He must be challenged by either a realistic veteran signing as a starter, or more likely given cost, taking a quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft.