Texans veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is trending in the right direction to regain his starting job Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Taylor hasn't been activated from designated for return from injured reserve since launching his 21-day practice window, but is taking first-team snaps this week. The former Pro Bowl selection is expected to be the starter this week and replace rookie Davis Mills as long as he doesn't experience any setbacks with the Grade 2 strained hamstring that he suffered in the second game of the season against the Cleveland Browns, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
"Tyrod coming back this week has been a great breath of fresh air, and you can feel that electricity kind of running through the team," Texans safetyJustin Reid said. "We’re just going to go and we’re going to play football. We’re going to play with our fundamentals, we’re going to get it right and we’re going to try and get a win.”
The 1-7 Texans' only victory of the season was when Taylor was under center in the season-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since Taylor got hurt while running away from Myles Garrett for a touchdown run against the Browns to produce a halftime lead, the Texans have lost seven consecutive games and are 0-6 with Mills, a third-round draft pick from Stanford.
“He looks great," Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks said. "It was great to have him back, just his presence. We look forward to it.”
A former Pro Bowl selection, Taylor completed 10 of 11 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a 144.3 passer rating before having to leave the Browns game at halftime after hurting while running for a touchdown with defensive end Myles Garrett swiping at his left leg. Taylor completed 70.5 percent of his throws for 416 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a career-high 122.9 passer rating before the injury.
"With Tyrod, we'll kind of see where he's at on Wednesday," Texans coach David Culley saidMonday morningat NRG Stadium. "He practiced last week. He'll practice this week. Maybe by the end of the week, we’ll have an idea of what we think. He took some first-team reps last week. He'll do the same thing this week."
Mills was sacked a season-high five times, including 1 1/2 times by Aaron Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and twice by Leonard Floyd and hit nine times overall during a 38-22 defeat Sunday at NRG Stadium as the Texans lost their seventh consecutive game.
Mills rallied the Texans a bit while orchestrating a hurry-up offense in the fourth quarter with the game already out of reach and the Rams having already pulled starting quarterback Matthew Stafford after three quarters while holding a commanding 38-0 lead. It wasn’t nearly enough, though, despite Mills completing 29 of 38 passes for 310 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 106.3 passer rating.
Mills has passed for 1,357 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions for an 80.2 passer rating. He’s been sacked 20 times.
"He is so conscious about protecting the football," Culley said of Mills' cautious approach. "I thought other than the one bad throw he made, he's done that. He's doing that. Basically the way we do things and are calling things, he's doing what he needs to do. We did not play very good football at all, in any phase. When that happens, it doesn't matter what we do.
"It ain't just about the quarterback. It's about our entire offensive football team needs to get better. Our defense needs to get better. Our special teams needs to get better. We need to coach better. It's not just him. He touches the ball, but he's not the guy who's responsible for everything that happening. Everybody has to do their job. We have to do a better job of coaching."