Davis Mills will get every opportunity to prove he's the guy this year. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.
The Houston Texans have one of the unique quarterback situations in all football. This isn’t to say the situation is good, but it is unique. It will be all about Davis Mills, and he will either keep the attention of the fanbase and management or force their eyes to Saturdays.
Davis Mills is the rare middle-round pick to have a full season of starting games all to himself. Rarely, does this happen in the NFL. Since 2000, nine third-round quarterbacks have started a majority of their team’s games in their first two seasons. All those quarterbacks played at least 35 games in college. Mills played in 14 college games. In fact, he’s played in 27 football games the past four football seasons.
A successful season from Mills means he gets to start another season. The Texans would also be on their way to maximum financial advantage: a solid quarterback on a cheap contract. Failure in 2022 means the Texans are using the 2023 NFL Draft to find their next quarterback.
How does Davis Mills prove he can cut it for the Texans? All he must do is have a supersized version of his rookie year.
Two wins, 16 touchdowns, and a 35.5 QBR doesn’t delight and even a 50 percent improvement might not be enough for Mills. The improvement for Mills though was immense. If he improves as much as he did from the start of the year to the end, he will be the quarterback for the Texans in 2023.
Mills had one of the worst training camp practices I have ever seen in my life last year. He was constantly missing players when there weren’t defenders. He threw easily interceptable passes. It was horrid.
Two months later in his third career start, he turned in one of the best performances a rookie has ever had against a Bill Belichick-led defense. Two months after that, he led the Texans past the Los Angeles Chargers and second-year phenom Justin Herbert. Mills put together a final month that held off any real competition for his job.
The 2023 season is all about growth for Mills. If he can grow as much as he did from that awful summer day to the best of his performances, he will play enough to keep his job. This is where Mills is an exciting element for the upcoming season. He is an unknown possessing an opportunity to rewrite his future and the team’s as well.
He must keep being dangerous in the red zone. It is necessary he continues to be successful passing the ball deep as new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton pushes the ball more than in recent years. There can’t be any horrible games and only a few bad ones. Kyle Allen is the backup for Mills and won’t play unless there is an injury to Mills.
It will be a 17-game rollercoaster for the Texans and Mills, and only if he eliminates doubt through growth, will he get to ride the rollercoaster again in 2023.
It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.
Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.
While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.
On Yordan Alvarez the leader, one of two constants in a clubhouse bracing for change and the responsibility he wants to shoulder as a result - https://t.co/sZGlI5taBQ
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 21, 2024
Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.
Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.
Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.
He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.
So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?
Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.
One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.
Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.
So what does all this mean for Yordan?
Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!
Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.