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DeAndre Hopkins endorses Tom Savage as Texans QB, cites leadership

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien has said Tom Savage is the team's No. 1 quarterback, and on Wednesday, star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said Savage has "earned" that role.

Savage will compete with rookie Deshaun Watson during training camp to open the season as the Texans' starter under center, but O'Brien has made it clear that Savage has the advantage right now.

"I like his leadership," Hopkins said. "From last year, when he wasn't playing on the field, he was still showing the guys, telling us what we should do, helping us out like he was the starting quarterback. Now that he's in that role, it's no surprise to anybody on this field that he deserves that role. He has earned it, not just from playing, but from the chemistry he has built in the locker room with everybody."

The bond between Savage and his wide receivers is one Hopkins has mentioned multiple times this offseason, citing the importance of not only getting the reps on the field but spending time together off the field as well, calling it a "huge key" this offseason. Hopkins said he thinks that relationship "makes a big difference."

"The teams you see winning championships are teams that are close, not just on the field but off the field," Hopkins said. "You look at teams that won championships and you look at the players, and you can tell they're not just teammates, they're friends as well."

The Texans' passing game struggled last season with Brock Osweiler and Savage under center, tying for 30th in the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Hopkins, who had a breakout season in 2015, had a drop in production last season, catching 78 passes for 954 yards and four touchdowns.

After nine weeks of the offseason program, Hopkins says he has noticed a difference in the O'Brien-led offense.

"[It's got a] very good feel," Hopkins said. "I've been in this offense for going on four years now. Having [new assistant coach] Wes Welker out here that's a recently removed wide receiver, it helps out a lot to have a guy that knows this offense better than anybody. To be here every day working with us, it makes a big difference."