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Armando Salguero’s OutKick NFL QB Talk: Texans Have An Impressive QB Not Named Watson; Aaron Rodgers To Make A Career Decision; Tannehill Has Feelings About The Dolphins

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It’s human nature that after the trade deadline passed and DeShaun Watson remained with the Houston Texans — sidelined at a cost of $10 million — we’d all lose interest in the team’s quarterback situation.

Because the most work Watson was getting was in talking to lawyers. And the Texans were quite awful.

But while we were all looking at shiny objects elsewhere the Texans polished up their rookie quarterback Davis Mills. And the kid is showing some promising improvement and actually playing pretty well lately.

Not bad for a player who wasn’t certain about coming out in the 2021 draft until he considered California’s ludicrous Covid-19 restrictions (protocols) that basically did nothing to stem the tide of that state’s outbreak compared to other states.

“I thought about going back to school, but there were a lot of uncertainties at the time with COVID protocols, especially out in California, Santa Clara County,” said Davis, who played at Stanford. “I think the 49ers had similar protocols that we had at Stanford where basically if you left the state and came back, you’d have to quarantine for two weeks, stuff like that.

“So, I didn’t know if I’d get a full spring ball or offseason to train and keep getting better. Ultimately, I felt like I had enough on tape to give myself a shot for a team to take the chance on me, and I ended up in Houston and here we are.”

Mills played only 14 games in three years at Stanford, which is not many, but the Texans nonetheless invested a third-round pick on him last April. And, as is typical of many rookie quarterbacks, Mills looked like a tremendous bust when he was thrust into the lineup early in the season.

Mill had, for example, a four-interception game against the Buffalo Bills in a 40-0 loss in October.

But here we are in late December and Mills is on fire. He delivered a 2-touchdown performance last week against the Los Angeles Chargers that helped his team to a 41-29 victory.

Mills has completed 65.5 percent of his passes with 7 TDs and 2 interceptions his last five games. His rating in those five games has been 95.5.

On Sunday the Texans travel to Northern California to play the San Francisco 49ers and that trip has reminded Mills he’s not that far removed from the young man who arrived at Stanford in 2017 as a redshirt freshman and pretty quickly figured out how important football is to him.

“I got hurt senior year of high school and then again freshman year at Stanford,” Mills said. “When you’re injured, you’re going through the rehab process and you’re not really out there practicing with the team every day.

“So, I was away from football for an elongated period of time and it really just gave me the time to think, ‘Why am I out here at Stanford? Why am I playing football?’ And it ultimately led to my conclusion of football is the thing I want to do for my future. I love playing and this is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing if I’m able to do that.

“It allowed me to come to that conclusion and then ultimately realized that I’ve just got to put my head down and get to work, and eventually my opportunity will come and I’ll have to take advantage of it.”

How’s Ryan Tannehill Feeling About Facing His Old Team?

It didn’t end well for Ryan Tannehill in Miami.

He was traded to the Tennessee Titans after seven years with the Dolphins and they actually paid part of Tannehill’s salary to make the deal work. The folks who traded him were coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier after what Grier called an evaluation by the new coaching staff to determine if they could “fix” Tannehill.

They obviously determined they couldn’t.

Tannehill has had some good moments and some rough moments in Tennessee since but he seems more at home now. He’s grown. He’s comfortable.

And he’s often better than he was in Miami.

So it shouldn’t surprise Tannehill, whose team plays the Dolphins on Sunday, would be thankful he got dealt to the Titans because it gave him a new start he’s used to his advantage of it.

“I am thankful for my time in Miami,” he said Wednesday. “That was a special time of my life. I grew a lot there as a person and as a player. I became a father. I grew as a husband. I grew on the field as well. Thankful for my time there.

“As far as people, there are not a whole lot of players left that were there. There are handful of guys that are still on the team, but there has been a lot of turnover there. Not a big carry over of guys. Thankful for my time there and have no ill feelings towards Miami.”

Tannehill obviously was not referring to Brent Grimes’ wife Miko, but that’s another story.

When Tannehill is back in town, he’s generally not treated like a player who failed to accomplish what he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft to accomplish.

“People are friendly just like they are most places” Tannehill said. “Mostly good experiences.”

Aaron Rodgers To Make Important Decision After The Season

Anyone who’s been paying attention understands retirement has been on the mind of Aaron Rodgers for some time.

He said he considered it before coming back for this season. He’s talked all season long about how he “savors” and “cherishes” certain experiences as if he’s in the middle of a good-bye tour.

So it made sense on Wednesday when Rodgers, in his 17th NFL season, discussed the idea of retiring after this season and how and when that decision will come.

“I wouldn’t rule that out,” Rodgers said of the possibility he walks away from the NFL after this season. “I think I’m just enjoying this season for this season. And I think that playing next year will definitely be in the thought process.

“One of the things that, and you and I have talked about this over the years, is wanting to not be a bum on the way out and to still be able to play is important to me. This year has taught me I still can play. I still have a love for the game. I’m still super competitive and still enjoy the process of the week.”

Rodgers was open in the past about wanting more say about the team’s roster. Well, not say but an opinion that was heard. He didn’t get that previously, which led to his telling the team he wanted to play elsewhere or might retire.

But general manager Brian Gutekunst has apparently worked to make Rodgers feel like his opinion is more valued now.

“The things I’ve said about the team this year, Brian and [my] relationship has been heartfelt and genuine and I do appreciate a lot of the things that I’ve seen from the team that are directly related to conversations we had in the offseason,” Rodgers said. “That was meaningful to me.

“I’ve enjoyed being a part of conversations that directly affect my job, which I talked about in the offseason. Brian’s taken a lead on that and I do appreciate the way our relationship has grown. I have a lot of love for [head coach] Matt [LaFleur], I’ve enjoyed playing for him. I have a lot of love for my teammates. The coaching staff has been fantastic. They make it fun every single day.”

Following the season, Rodgers says he will make a decision on playing, or not, in 2022 and deliver it quickly like a pass he fires with a flick of the wrist.

“I’m just savoring this year as much as anything and it won’t be something I drag out for months and months,” he said. “I’ll have conversations with my loved ones after the season and Brian and [VP of Football Operations] Russ [Ball] and [President] Mark [Murphy] and the coaching staff. And then make a decision at some point.

“But I’m not going to hold the team back from anything and once I commit, it’s committing to move forward here, it’ll be a quick decision.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

One Comment

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  1. Even die hard Tannehill fans like me knew that after seven years both Tannehill and Miami needed new starts.
    I am and remain a Dolphin fan. But it does not take much to acknowledge that, at least so far, it has gone better for Tannehill than the Dolphins.
    The narrative is that Tannehill needed Henry. And Henry will help any QB. But Henry and the Titans were both struggling when Tannehill became the starter.
    What Tannehill needed was an OL. And that is what the Titans gave them in 2019 when he led the league in passer rating and took the Titans to the playoffs.

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