As Deshaun Watson prepares to start tonight against the Bengals, he represents an extraordinary run of quarterback instability for the Texans.
When Bill O’Brien decided to anoint Watson over Tom Savage one game into this season, it represented the 18th quarterback change for the Texans over their last 54 games, encompassing 10 different quarterbacks.
Matt Schaub started most of the 2013 season, including the last game of the year. Ryan Fitzpatrick started 2014, then was replaced by Ryan Mallett, then the Texans went back to Fitzpatrick, then to Case Keenum. Brian Hoyer started 2015, then the Texans went back to Mallett, then back to Hoyer, then to T.J. Yates, then back to Hoyer, then back to Yates, then to Brandon Weeden, then back to Hoyer. Brock Osweiler started the 2016 season, then the Texans went to Savage, then back to Osweiler. And after going back to Savage on Sunday, the Texans turn to Watson on Thursday night.
Confused? Let’s put it in list form. Over the Texans’ last 54 games, dating back to Week 17 of 2013, this has been their starting quarterback rotation:
Matt Schaub for the last game of 2013.
Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first nine games of 2014.
Ryan Mallett for Games 10 and 11 of 2014.
Ryan Fitzpatrick for Games 12-14 of 2014.
Case Keenum for the last two games of 2014.
Brian Hoyer for the first game of 2015.
Ryan Mallett for Games 2-5 of 2015.
Brian Hoyer for Games 6-9 of 2015.
T.J. Yates for Game 10 of 2015.
Brian Hoyer for Games 11-13 of 2015.
T.J. Yates for Game 14 of 2015.
Brandon Weeden for Game 15 of 2015.
Brian Hoyer for Game 16 and the playoff game of 2015.
Brock Osweiler for Games 1-14 of 2016.
Tom Savage for Games 15 and 16 of 2016.
Brock Osweiler for the two playoff games of 2016.
Tom Savage for the first game of 2017.
Deshaun Watson for the second game of 2017.
On average, the Texans are changing quarterbacks every three games. Which would suggest that by Week Five, O’Brien will be ready to make another change.