It’s been 15 years since the Houston Texans took David Carr first overall. He was the first draft pick in franchise history, and the hope was that he would be the franchise quarterback to lead the organization from expansion team to perennial playoff contender.
Instead, Carr lasted five years in Houston. He started 75 games, won just 22 of them, threw 59 touchdowns, 65 interceptions, and was sacked a mind-blowing 249 times, including 76 as a rookie. He played five more seasons -- all as a backup -- for three different teams before calling it a career in 2012. And perhaps a backup role is where we are in Brock Osweiler’s NFL career arc.
Like Carr, Osweiler was tabbed to be the Texans’ future. And like Carr, Osweiler struggled mightily in his first year in Houston. But instead of getting another chance to prove himself, the Texans instead dumped Osweiler on the Browns, and threw in a 2018 second-round pick for their troubles. And that admission -- that the organization only needed a few months to realize they had made a grave mistake -- seemed hasty to Carr.
“Gary Kubiak’s system in Denver was so different,” Carr said, via the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron. “It was completely different than what Bill (O’Brien) was asking him to do in Houston with the option routes and young receivers. There wasn’t enough time.
“I look at the guys they’ve had in Houston (during O’Brien’s tenure) and they haven’t been given a lot of time. I don’t know how you get much continuity at the positon by rotating guys in so much, especially with the offense you’re running. There is a comfort level involved, and you can’t match that in 10 months.”
Ain’t that the truth.
No one looked more uncomfortable than Osweiler last season, which goes a long way in explaining why he ranked 33rd among all quarterbacks last season, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics (ahead of only Rams rookie Jared Goff).
“It was a short stint, and Brock didn’t play his best,” Carr continued. “And there was not a lot of flexibility for [coach Bill O’Brien] to change or adapt to what Brock was comfortable with. A lot of coaches are like that. They won’t change their system. But when you pay somebody that much money, you want to have an open conversation, and that wasn’t going to be the case.”
No, no it was not. And now the Texans are looking for their next franchise quarterback. And while things didn’t work out with Osweiler, Carr made it clear that O’Brien’s offense isn’t the problem.
“There is nothing wrong with Bill’s system. The Patriots have been successful using it,” Carr said. “But what the Patriots have that the Texans don’t have is a quarterback with a ton of experience. And the guys who play wide receiver for the Patriots, they get it. If you took the Texans’ wide receivers and the Patriots’ wide receivers to a park and picked teams based on speed and ability and athleticism, I would pick every one of the Texans’ receivers. But for whatever reason, the Patriots’ receivers get it. There is a continuity and an understanding of the offense, and that is what Bill is trying to get in Houston.”
Of course, all of this could have been avoided had the Texans drafted Carr’s brother, Derek, back in 2014. Instead, they took pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 pick and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo with the first pick of the second round. Three picks later and Carr was a member of the Oakland Raiders.
There are obvious reasons for passing on Carr if you’re Houston -- chief among them: He’s David Carr’s brother -- but with hindsight being what it is, there are obvious reasons not to pass on him. Last season, As it stands, Carr is one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Last season, he completed 64 percent of his throws with 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions, and helped the Raiders 12 wins. It was the team’s first winning season since 2002 -- the same year the Texans took David Carr.