Texans' QBs have more freedom now

The day after the Houston Texans' three-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks last season, I asked then-Texans coach Gary Kubiak if Matt Schaub could have used an audible out of the play that resulted in a pick-six by Richard Sherman that might have altered the course of the season. Kubiak said no.

Last week Schaub told the Bay Area News Group that he is enjoying having more freedom in the Oakland Raiders' offense.

It's a sentiment current Texans quarterbacks understand. Those limitations placed on Schaub, the inflexibility of his options, were simply part of the system Kubiak ran.

They aren't part of Bill O'Brien's system. And the one quarterback left on the roster who spent the longest time playing for Kubiak loves the change.

"The quarterback's in complete control," T.J. Yates said. "We're doing everything up front, we're setting the protections, setting the mike, we have a lot of options to go to depending on the pass formation or the pass concept. ...We have a lot more freedom in this offense, and I think it's going to benefit all of us."

That freedom is part of why intelligence is something O'Brien values at the position.

Yesterday, O'Brien termed the competition as being "wide open." Today he was asked what he looks for in a quarterback and mentioned leadership, work ethic and accuracy. The Texans have never had a truly open competition before, and that fresh start that comes with everybody learning from zero is exciting to Yates, too.

"It's very refreshing for me because new coaching staff, new offense ... everybody's getting reps with the (first team), everybody's getting reps with the (fourth team)," Yates said. "I'm looking forward to keep progressing with this offense because it is a very fun offense."