When the Houston Texans open the season Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it will likely be an emotional scene.
It will be the Texans’ first game since the city of Houston was devastated by the floods from Hurricane Harvey.
The Texans have already dedicated their season to Houston, and star J.J. Watt has done an amazing job of raising millions for the victims.
From a football standpoint, though, there’s another interesting storyline. Both teams have shown how it can take a team years to overcome a mistake at the quarterback position.
And both made a huge mistake in the 2014 draft when they both passed on Derek even though they both needed a quarterback.
Carr should be starting this game for one of the two teams because he didn’t go on the first round in the 2014 draft. Oakland took him on the second round.
The Texans had a new coach in Bill O’Brien in 2014 and were coming off a 2-14 season when Matt Schaub and Case Keenum were the quarterbacks.
The Jaguars were looking for a quarterback after closing the books on the Blaine Gabbert error.
The Texans passed on Carr twice, taking Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on the second round. It could be argued Clowney was the right move, although he’s yet to live up to his potential. But taking a guard over Carr was a head-scratcher. They got a starting guard with the pick, but they lost a chance to get a franchise quarterback.
And the Jaguars took Bortles with the third pick.
We all know what’s happened since.
O’Brien has had a revolving door at quarterback, possessing 10 of them and starting eight. Tom Savage will start the season, the fourth opening day starter in four years. The other three have been Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
And O’Brien has gone 28-23, including 9-7 the last two years to make the playoffs. But the Texans lost two of those three playoff games. The only win was against Oakland last year when Carr was out injured.
Last year, the team had the NFL’s top-ranked defense even with Watt injured, a better-than-average running game and an elite wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins — and still lost seven games.
Maybe they didn’t want to take Carr because his brother, David Carr, was such a bust for the Texans.
Besides passing on Carr, their Texans’ biggest mistake was overpaying in free agency for Osweiler. He went 8-6 before being benched, although he came back when Savage had a concussion.
Osweiler was so bad that Houston gave Cleveland a second-round pick to take Osweiler and his $16 million in guaranteed money off their hands. The Browns cut him, and now he’s back in Denver. In effect, the Browns paid $16 million to get a second-round pick next year.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, have had three consecutive losing seasons with Bortles. The general manager who picked him, Dave Caldwell, was demoted this year and Tom Coughlin was brought in to run the team.
Coughlin failed to bring in a veteran quarterback to push him. He said he did “study and research’’ on Colin Kaepernick and decided he wasn’t interested. New head coach Doug Marrone benched Bortles after two preseason games and tried backup Chad Henne as the starter in the third game. Henne didn’t show much, and Marrone went back to Bortles almost by default.
The Jaguars will be looking for their quarterback of the future next year. At least the Texans appear to have that player on their roster after drafting DeShaun Watson on the first round. Savage will keep the seat warm for him this year, but look for Watson to start next year by the latest.
“Everybody is striving for stability at that position,” O’Brien said at the NFL owners meetings in March according to the Houston Chronicle. “Obviously, we haven’t had stability there, and that hasn’t been any one person’s fault.’’
Memo to O’Brien: It’s your fault and the fault of general manager Rick Smith and maybe even owner Bob McNair.
A couple of years ago, I asked O’Brien what his quarterback plan was. He got upset at the question. It turns out he didn’t have one.
“We’re pretty proud as a coaching staff,’’ O’Brien said last March. “We’ve done a good job, I think, developing players. We haven’t been perfect. Don’t get me wrong, we have made our share of mistakes. To me, the key for us is to get better at eliminating mistakes.”
Their worst mistakes have come at the most important position.
And they’re still trying to overcome those mistakes.