NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Quarterback Brock Osweiler didn’t know if he’d get the chance to play another snap for the Houston Texans this season, but he made sure he was prepared to jump back in if he was needed.
Osweiler, whom the Texans signed to a four-year, $72 million contract in the offseason in hopes of ending their quarterback carousel, came in for Tom Savage early in the second quarter after Savage left the game with a concussion.
Just two games earlier, Osweiler was benched for Savage after he threw two first-half interceptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The next day, Texans coach Bill O’Brien named Savage the starting quarterback. Although O’Brien declined after the game to name the starter for this weekend's playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, the Texans might need to turn to and rely on the quarterback who stayed ready, despite the late-season benching.
In Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans, Osweiler was 21-of-40 for 253 yards and a touchdown. He did not throw an interception and ran for a 1-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Although Osweiler was still inconsistent, he looked better than he had in most of his starts this season. Osweiler did not turn the ball over for the first time since the Texans' Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Most backup quarterbacks -- at the very least, all three quarterbacks on the Texans’ roster -- will tell you that the mentality is always to prepare for a game during the week as if they will be starting on Sunday. Osweiler -- and Savage earlier this season -- said you have to be ready because you never know when you will be called to play, whether it be because of performance or injury.
As such, Osweiler said, he stayed ready.
“When you’re the backup quarterback, your job is to prepare like the starter and be ready to play at all times," Osweiler said. "So Tom [Savage] came out of the game with a concussion, had to get evaluated, [and] I was ready to step in there.
“We came in at halftime, and I was told I’m going to go in to start the third quarter. You know, that’s what it’s all about: being prepared and ready to step in when your team needs you.”
Osweiler said one way he stays mentally in the game is to have his helmet on so he can listen to the play call while he is standing on the sideline watching Savage.
“I try to put myself mentally through the play as though I was out there on the field,” Osweiler said. “As you saw out there today, all of a sudden, after one play, you get the first down, and you’re in there.
“Whether you like it or not, you’re running into that game, and so you always need to stay mentally in tune, and you need to be physically ready as well.”
Although it seems obvious, Osweiler said he “absolutely” wants to be starting the home playoff game Saturday.
“You play this game to be a starter,” Osweiler said. “You play this game to contribute in a positive way to your team, so I would absolutely love to start this playoff game. But at the end of the day, I don’t make those decisions.
“My job is to prepare, whether I’m the starter or I’m the backup, and be ready to play, be ready to contribute to my team. I’ll be prepared in whatever role coach wants me to do.”