Houston Texans officially turn to rookie Davis Mills to start at QB against Carolina

Mills threw for 102 yards with a touchdown and an interception during his Sept. 19 debut against the Cleveland Browns.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Texans will not play Deshaun Watson at QB if Tyrod Taylor out
Just before Davis Mills' first NFL start, head coach David Culley had this to say about the rookie QB.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Davis Mills, welcome to your first NFL start!

The Houston Texans officially gave the rookie quarterback, who was drafted out of Stanford this past April, the starting play-calling duties when they host the Carolina Panthers in a primetime Thursday night game.

Multiple factors played into head coach David Culley's decision to start the 22-year-old just three games into his NFL career.

Tyrod Taylor, Culley's anointed starter heading into the season, is still considered day-to-day due to a left hamstring injury suffered midway through the Texans' loss at Cleveland. Mills was inserted during the matchup for his first official action in the pros.

Culley also had his hands tied with the deactivation of Deshaun Watson, the Texans' starting QB from last year who is on the roster but considered a healthy scratch from game day lineups so far this season. The uncertainty over Watson's NFL status amid 22 lawsuits against him was a driver in the team's decision to keep him off the field.

SEE MORE: Tyrod Taylor wins Houston Texans' starting QB job as Deshaun Watson uncertainty unfolds

With a timetable for a return unclear, on top of a short week to prepare between games, Mills, Taylor's primary backup, got the call.

When Culley made the announcement, he said he thought that Mills would be more comfortable on Thursday because he will be able to take the majority of the first-team reps on Tuesday.

"He's been ready," Culley said of Mills on Tuesday. "Now that he's gotten those reps, I think there will be a comfort level in starting the game. I think in the second half when he had to go out and play, I think not having had those reps in practice and all of a sudden now, 'I'm up,' probably made a difference. And I think this week going into the game when we start the game and he's out there, I think there will be a much better comfort level."

Culley added the Texans (1-1) could explore signing another quarterback next week if Taylor remains out.

ESPN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.