Back in 2002, the NFL officially expanded to 32 teams when the Houston Texans joined the fold. The Texans replaced the Oilers, who now play in Nashville as the Tennessee Titans. It was exciting for a lot of the folks in Texas that missed pro football, but didn’t want to root for the Cowboys. Despite being thrown into the fire with little help on the expansion front, the Texans have had some decent success after riding out the storm early.
Since 2011, the Texans have won four AFC South championships, and the future looks bright with a solid overall defense that includes J.J. Watt and JaDeveon Clowney. With all of the defensive stars that they have had, one position that has always seemed to elude Houston is at quarterback. In 15 seasons, the Texans have trotted out 14 different quarterbacks, starting with David Carr, the team’s first ever draft selection.
Where does Carr rank among the 14 quarterbacks? We take a look at every QB that has started at least one game for the Texans and rank them from worst to first. We don’t take their overall careers into consideration, instead focusing on their time with Houston. Here is our list.
14 14. Dave Ragone
The current quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears was once a project that the Texans selected out of Louisville in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Dave Ragone was meant to be the backup to David Carr, though he would end up getting two starts during his rookie season. Ragone never stood a chance as he took on the Jaguars and Buccaneers in his two starts, losing both by a combined 3-43 score.
13 13. Matt Leinart
One of the most celebrated college players in recent memory, 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart was drafted 10th overall by the Cardinals in 2006. Leinart would promptly become a huge bust and was kicked out of Arizona after the 2009 season. The Texans then brought him in, and Leinart would end up riding the bench for two seasons. He was called into action twice over those two years, making one start.
12 12. Ryan Mallett
During his time in high school, Ryan Mallett was one of the most celebrated football players in the nation. Mallett would end up at Michigan before transferring to Arkansas, and it was still assumed that he would be a good NFL prospect. The Patriots selected him in the third round in the 2011 NFL Draft and used him as a trade piece, sending him to Houston for a late round draft pick.
11 11. Brandon Weeden
One of the biggest head scratchers in the history of the NFL Draft’s first round, the Cleveland Browns selected Brandon Weeden 22nd overall despite already being 28 years old. Weeden would spend just two years with the Browns before being sent away, then he signed with Dallas for the 2014 season. The next year, the Cowboys waived Weeden and he was picked up by the Texans.
10 10. Brock Osweiler
In terms of overall talent, is Brock Osweiler really one of the worst quarterbacks that the Texans have ever trotted out as a starter? Probably not, but not many players have been more disappointing in recent memory than he has. Osweiler was given huge money by the Texans to be their franchise quarterback after getting chances here and there in Denver, and so far it hasn’t paid off.
9 9. Tom Savage
Since Osweiler was benched during the 2016 season for Tom Savage, it only makes sense to put Savage ahead of him on the list. Savage was a fourth round pick by the Texans in 2014 out of Pitt to serve as a backup, but was then thrust into the starting lineup for two games and three appearances overall. In the 2016 regular season, Savage would wind up posting 461 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
8 8. Tony Banks
Those of us that watched football back in the late 1990s and early 2000s know that Tony Banks was the guy that always seemed to be on the cusp of greatness, but never really got there. Banks started out in St. Louis where he put up some decent numbers, but ended up losing his job to Trent Green (and subsequently Kurt Warner). Banks then signed with Baltimore where he made 18 starts, but didn’t start in the Super Bowl as Trent Dilfer got the nod.
7 7. Case Keenum
Whenever a football player goes undrafted, it seems that the team that ends up signing them is usually the closest to their college. That was the case (no pun intended) for Case Keenum, the former Houston Cougar that was picked up by the Texans in 2012. Keenum didn’t see the field in his rookie season, but would end up making 10 starts over the next two years.
6 6. T.J. Yates
T.J. Yates was never really meant to be a starter, which is why he wasn’t drafted until the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Texans out of North Carolina. Yates would still see the field in his rookie season, though, and he ended up starting five games. Yates finished 2-3 in those starts, collecting 949 yards through the air with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He then got the start in the 2011 NFL Playoffs, where he went 1-1 with 343 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
5 5. Sage Rosenfels
After spending his rookie season as a preseason darling in Washington, former Iowa State Cyclone Sage Rosenfels was traded to Miami, where he would spend four seasons and making two starts. After the 2005 season, Rosenfels was signed by the Texans to become their backup, and he would make four appearances off of the bench his first year. Rosenfels then spent two more years in Houston and got some opportunities as a starter.
4 4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
There aren’t as many good journeyman quarterbacks in the NFL these days like there used to be back in the 1980s and 1990s. One of those guys that has made the rounds as a starter over the past decade, though, is Ryan Fitzpatrick. The former seventh round pick started out with the Rams, then made his way to Cincinnati, Buffalo and Tennessee before landing with Houston for one season in 2014.
3 3. Brian Hoyer
We’re not done with the journeymen quarterback as we find one that is currently on his fifth team. Brian Hoyer was an undrafted prospect out of Michigan State that signed to be Tom Brady’s backup in New England for three seasons. Hoyer would spent 2012 with the Steelers and Cardinals before signing with Cleveland for two seasons, posting an impressive 10-6 record with nearly 4,000 yards.
2 2. David Carr
Despite putting up some pretty awful numbers during his career after being the top overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, not many people bring up David Carr’s name in terms of being the biggest draft bust. That’s because Carr was thrown into the worst possible situation for a quarterback as he played for an expansion team that got nerfed compared to the Panthers and the Jaguars of the 1990s.
1 1. Matt Schaub
When you see who the top quarterback in Texans history is, you really realize that they have a long way to go and haven’t been around that long. Matt Schaub gets the nod at the top spot as he went from backup in Atlanta to starter in Houston during the 2007 season. Schaub would end up starting in at least eight games every season from 2007 to 2013 for 88 starts and 90 overall appearances.
In his starts, Schaub finished with a 46-42 record, throwing for 23,221 yards, 124 touchdowns and 78 interceptions. Schaub was definitely a solid quarterback for much of his time in Houston and then just happened to fall apart, throwing pick sixes left and right. Schaub was dumped unceremoniously after 2013 and has spent time with the Raiders, Ravens and Falcons (again) since leaving.
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