The Texans have quietly had more starting QBs than the Browns since 2014

It is a commonly accepted fact that the Cleveland Browns have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL. Things are turning around with DeShone Kizer in place, but no one is locking the Browns into "have a franchise quarterback" status just yet. 

Quietly, however, the Browns might not be in a worse spot in terms of recent history when it comes to starting quarterbacks. The Houston Texans are actually worse, if you want to shorten the window to more recent years. They will be starting Deshaun Watson at quarterback on Thursday night, as CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on Monday night, and he will be their whopping ninth starting quarterback since the beginning of 2014.

Not coincidentally, 2014 is when current head coach Bill O'Brien -- who has the quickest quarterback hook in professional football these days -- took over. O'Brien spent the entire offseason pumping up veteran Tom Savage and naming him the starter and saying Watson wasn't ready and then he yanked Savage 15 pass attempts into the Texans' blowout loss to the Jaguars.

Let's look at this Murderer's Row of quarterbacks that BOB had trotted out in that span:

  1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  2. Ryan Mallett
  3. Tom Savage
  4. Case Keenum
  5. Brian Hoyer
  6. T.J. Yates
  7. Brandon Weeden
  8. Brock Osweiler
  9. Deshaun Watson

Wooooo, buddy. That's some quarterbacks. And the list really doesn't do justice to the flip-flopping O'Brien as done. If you got to Pro-Football-Reference and sort Texans quarterbacks who have thrown five or more passes in a game since 2014 here is what the list looks like.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (9 games)
Ryan Mallett (2 games)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2 games)
Tom Savage (1 game)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (1 game)
Case Keenum (2 games)
Ryan Mallett (1 game)
Brian Hoyer (1 game)
Ryan Mallett (3 games)
Brian Hoyer (1 game)
Ryan Mallett (1 game)
Brian Hoyer (4 games)
T.J. Yates (1 game)
Brian Hoyer (1 game)
T.J. Yates (1 game)
Brian Hoyer (3 games)
T.J. Yates (1 game)
Brandon Weeden (2 games)
Brian Hoyer (1 game)
Brock Osweiler (13 games)
Tom Savage (1 game)
Brock Osweiler (1 game)
Tom Savage (2 games)
Brock Osweiler (1 game)
Tom Savage (1 game)
Deshaun Watson (1 game)

That doesn't include Thursday night's game, it doesn't mean starts and it doesn't account for injury. But it makes the point sufficiently: the Texans have been all over the place when it comes to playing quarterbacks and on Thursday night they'll be starting their ninth quarterback since 2014. By comparison, the Cleveland Browns in that same timeframe:

  1. Brian Hoyer
  2. Johnny Manziel
  3. Connor Shaw
  4. Josh McCown
  5. Austin Davis
  6. Robert Griffin
  7. Cody Kessler
  8. DeShone Kizer

I legit forgot about that Austin Davis start for Cleveland. And the Browns might have had more guys throw passes -- Kevin Hogan, Charlie Whitehurst, Terrelle Pryor (WHO WAS A RECEIVER!) -- but that was mostly because of injury. The Texans situation often feels like O'Brien pulling the string in quick fashion. He once yanked Hoyer early in the season to put in Mallett only to have Mallett sleep through his alarm clock. 

And, again, just to be clear: the Texans have started more quarterbacks since the beginning of 2014 than the Browns have. The Texans are supposed to be a playoff contender. 

Bonus: Houston is already short-handed thanks to having five players in the concussion protocol for Thursday night. They desperately need some good quarterback play to give them a shot at beating the Bengals. If history holds it will probably be from two guys.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories