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Savage's agent sounds off on benching


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For the second time in three years, the Texans have benched their starting quarterback after one game. For the first time in a long time, an agent has gone on the record to dispute the decision to bench a player.

Appearing on PFT Live, agent Neil Schwartz questioned the decision to bench Tom Savage, who lasted two quarters — like Brian Hoyer did in Week One of the 2015 season.

“I watched all 31 plays because that was the extent of what Tom saw in the first half and I can’t figure out why he’s benching Tom,” Schwartz said. “I went through every single play, in fact I went even a step further. I asked two different NFL personnel people also ex-coaches, two separate teams to evaluate, break down and to review the film and see if I was missing something and let’s go through it. He went seven for 13. 12 of those 13 balls, Mike, touched the receivers hands. The only ball that didn’t was the strip sack fumble that they called incomplete. So 12 of the 13 balls that he threw touched the receivers hands. Seven were completions, five were drops.”

It’s a somewhat stunning decision for an agent to play the role of disgruntled high-school parent and essentially confront the coach after the game. What does, in the case, the agent want to accomplish?

“I wanted to defend Tom and this was my choice,” Schwartz said. “I spoke to Tom and Tom was OK with and comfortable and I spoke to my partner, and someone I felt had to defend Tom. And I didn’t feel that the coaching staff defended Tom or defended his performance and I would love to sit down and watch the film with Bill O’Brien and go through every single play and tell me why are you benching him after 31 plays. Just show it to me. I’ve asked two independent NFL evaluators to break the film down and tell me why are you benching him after 31 plays. If he threw two pick sixes in the first half I get it I understand. If he was inaccurate with the ball I get it. 31 plays, I don’t get it.”

So what does Savage want?

“I think he just wants to be defended,” Schwartz said. “You just benched him after 31 plays. It just doesn’t make sense. So Tom’s obviously taken the high road and I would only expect Tom to take the high road and he’s gonna support DeShaun, he’s gonna support the team and he wants to be a part of the Houston organization, he loves it down there. It’s just frustrating and to be benched after 31 plays it just doesn’t make sense.”

It seems based on these comments as if Savage no longer wants to be a Texan. Schwartz made it clear that Savage has no desire to leave.

“Tom wants to be a Houston Texan,” Schwartz said. “Tom wants the Houston Texans to win. Bill O’Brien owes me no explanation. I just disagree with Bill O’Brien and I’m defending Tom Savage. And Tom would disagree with Bill O’Brien’s decision. He wants to be the starter. He feels he’s earned it. He’s not entitled to it, he’s earned it. But by the same token guess what? Bill O’Brien made the decision that Deshaun Watson’s the starter. . . . So publicly Tom’s taking the high road and he’s not happy with the decision and he’s gonna support the team and do anything he can to help the team win. Bill knows that, that’s evident but remember the same token someone’s got to defend this guy and unfortunately I feel like the organization didn’t defend him. Thirty-one plays and you bench him. That’s not defending a player and this is just incredulous in my opinion.”

The last time this happened, the guy who got benched eventually was reinserted after his replacement was benched. Given what the Texans gave up to get Watson, it may be hard to bench him. Does Schwartz think Savage eventually will be un-benched?

“Well let’s put it this way, getting benched after 31 plays is incredulous to me so at this point in time nothing would surprise me,” Schwartz said. “So I don’t have a response because I’m shocked that he got benched after 31 plays.”

The Texans have yet to respond to what Schwartz had to say. Eventually, they surely will. For now, they have a game on Thursday night to worry about. After it ends, O’Brien, Watson, Savage, and others surely will be saying something. And how the game in Cincinnati goes will surely influence what those folks have to say.

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