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Texans give rookie QB Savage the full treatment

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 12 2014 06:15:13 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 12 2014 06:15:14 PM CDT

HOUSTON -- Texans rookie quarterback Tom Savage hasn't been protected during OTAs.

Quarterbacks coach George Godsey said Thursday that Savage has mostly received the same information the team's other three quarterbacks have been provided.

In turn, Savage has initially impressed the Texans with his dedication and understanding of a new, complex offensive system.

"For a rookie quarterback, it's very difficult ... and we're not holding much back from him, either," Godsey said after the ninth day of OTAs at NRG Stadium.

"I'm going to coach him hard. Coach (Bill) O'Brien is going to coach him hard. The rest of the coaches are, too. The thing that I like about Tom is that he just looks me back in the eye and he wants to give it more reps and he wants to learn."

Godsey described Savage as a "hungry young man" willing to work on weekends and study during his off time.

The Texans are giving the 2014 fourth-round draft pick as much installation material as he can handle during workouts.

"Our goal is to teach the unit the offense," Godsey said.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick the Texans' expected starting quarterback and Savage making a strong first impression, the team's backup spot has come down to Case Keenum and T.J. Yates.

Godsey said the Texans are going through a "day-by-day" process as they determine which of one of their four quarterbacks will soon be released.

"Each day, coach (Bill) O'Brien, myself and the other coaches are evaluating not just quarterbacks but every position," Godsey said. "And to see, OK, where are we today and where have we come in these 13, really, offseason practices."

Godsey said Keenum and Yates are "working hard" to learn the Texans' new offensive system while aiding Savage in his progress. The quarterbacks coach didn't go into specifics about Keenum and Yates, though.

Fitzpatrick's love of football and nine seasons' worth of NFL knowledge have already made an impression on the Texans.

Like O'Brien, Godsey acknowledged that Fitzpatrick must eliminate bad decisions that have become turnovers in the past. But the Texans' expected Week 1 starting quarterback has made an impact during OTAs with his veteran understanding of the game.

"The first thing that we look for in a quarterback is how much do you want to get in there and put your time in," Godsey said. "And that's one thing that he's definitely shown from (my) time with him. He's got a lot of experience playing with different systems; he's seen a lot of things.

"In this league, there's going to be a lot of different looks that you're going to get. So with Ryan, he does a good job of controlling the offense and ... getting together with other groups and trying to let them see everything through the quarterback's eyes."

To Godsey, "knowledge is power." Nine-plus seasons and five teams have given Fitzpatrick a resume that quarterback competitors Keenum, Yates and Savage can't touch.

"With his experience, he has a little bit more knowledge maybe than the other quarterbacks right now, because of maybe some of the negative things that he's experienced or positive things," Godsey said.

"So I think that's one of the advantages that he has."

--While the Texans sweated through OTAs last week, a little-known but much-respected backup right tackle was forced to change his world and begin battling for his life.

Six-foot-5, 307-pound David Quessenberry entered M.D. Anderson Hospital last Tuesday as a professional football player. A week later, the Texans announced their 2013 sixth-round pick from San Jose State is a cancer patient, having been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins T Lymphoblastic Lymphoma at age 23.

"My fight has just begun," Quessenberry tweeted Tuesday. "As long as I have breath in my lungs, I will fight this disease and I will win."

Two oncology experts said Quessenberry faces a high-grade, life-threatening form of cancer that requires immediate treatment. He's expected to face months of chemotherapy during a process that could last years.

The many forms of lymphoma and multiple recovery scenarios make Quessenberry's future health status difficult to predict. But his high "performance data," including youth and excellent physical shape, should work in his favor if treatment goes well.

"It's a rapidly growing lymphoma ... but the tumors that grow most rapidly are usually the ones most sensitive to chemotherapy," said Dr. Martha Mims, chief of hematology and oncology at Baylor College of Medicine.

All veteran left tackle Duane Brown knew Tuesday was the warrior was gone.

Brown took to Quessenberry in 2013, seeing not the five years and two NFL worlds that separated the men but a kindred spirit who understood the beauty of the physical violence at the heart of pro football.

"He's a young guy that I kind of took under my wing, and has a lot of potential, and he's been battling," Brown said after the eighth day of OTAs at NRG Stadium.

"It's very tough for us. Because we are athletes, we're all fairly young and in pretty good health for the most part. To get some kind of news like that from a 23-year-old, it's very shocking and it's saddening.

"But Quiz is a fighter. I have all the optimism in the world that he'll fight through this and come out OK."