As the injuries pile up and the Houston Texans' 2017 season continues to slide into the abyss, one thing is abundantly certain — Tuesdays will not be boring around NRG Stadium. That's the day each week that coaches and personnel people spend working out street free agents to see if they're good enough to add to the practice squad or the 53-man roster.
No team in the league has done more tweaking to their roster, some of it voluntary and some of it injury-induced, than the Texans, and with the number of injured players increasing by the week, there is no shortage of opportunity for an unemployed football player to find an NFL home with the Houston Texans.
And let's face it — after Tom Savage's 19 for 44 performance against the Colts on Sunday, if the Texans weren't working out quarterbacks yesterday, then they may as well just close up shop and begin planning for 2018 (like the rest of us have started to do). To that end, they did work out and sign a quarterback on Tuesday, a mobile quarterback whose style resembles Deshaun Watson's far more than Tom Savage's.
No, not THAT mobile quarterback!
The Texans signed free agent Josh Johnson, a nine year NFL veteran out of the University of San Diego. In the process, they released quarterback Matt McGloin, who was inactive on Sunday in his only game as a Texan. In one other transaction on Tuesday, the Texans released defensive end Kendall Langford, presumably to make room for the return of tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz from injured reserve.
So let's get the relevant questions about this Johnson signing answered....
1. Who the hell is Josh Johnson?
As I mentioned earlier, he is in his ninth NFL season out of San Diego. He is also now on his tenth NFL team. Along the way, he also played for something called the Sacramento Mountain Lions, true story. In college, Johnson played for Jim Harbaugh in Harbaugh's first stint as a head coach at any level. Johnson's most recent stint in the NFL was last season in New York, where he backed up Eli Manning, a job he lost in training camp this summer to Geno Smith. Texan fans may remember Johnson from the 2014 preseason where, in Week 4, playing for Harbaugh again, he tore up the Texans in a 40-13 NIner win with a stat line of 14 of 17 for 135 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 34 yards on six carries.
2. How should Tom Savage be processing this signing?
Quite frankly, after looking positively Osweiler-esque in his start Sunday against the Colts — yes, it was THAT bad — Savage should consider anybody with two legs, a working throwing arm, and a heartbeat as potential competition. Bottom line, I'd rather start Josh Johnson this Sunday against the Rams on four days of experience as a Texan than start Savage with four YEARS worth of experience as a Texan.
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3. If he does see playing time, what benefit could Josh Johnson bring?
Well, for one, because he fits the aforementioned description as a functioning human being with two legs and a throwing arm, Johnson is probably an upgrade over Tom Savage, although to be fair, a broom with an upside down bucket for a head would be an improvement over the Colts game version of Savage. More specifically, if Johnson does wind up playing, Bill O'Brien will likely deploy a similar play-calling strategy as he did with Watson, with lots of motion and designed QB movement and running. (NOTE: Johnson rushed for over 700 yards in each of his last two seasons in college, averaging over seven yards a carry.) Here's the thing, we know that the Texans are building their offense around Watson's skills for the next decade, so why not use a backup quarterback who mirrors Watson's style? At the very least, using Johnson would allow you to evaluate the rest of your offensive personnel running similar plays to those O'Brien would run with Watson under center.
4. Soooooo... about Colin Kaepernick?
Yeah, if Kaepernick didn't get a tryout on Tuesday, then he ain't getting one here, which should surprise absolutely nobody.
5. What was your favorite "Matt McGloin as a Texan" moment?
I'd have to say that time he got released and the Texans signed Josh Johnson in his place.
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