T.J. Yates

Texans Add T.J. Yates, Akeem Dent To Staff

Nearly five years ago, the Texans traded T.J. Yates in order to acquire Akeem Dent. In 2015, they became teammates after Yates re-signed in Houston. The duo will now begin their coaching careers on the same sideline.

The Texans announced Yates and Dent will be part of their staff, joining former standout Houston linebacker Brian Cushing in transitioning to coaching with the franchise. Both Yates and Dent will start at the bottom, the former quarterback joining the team as an offensive assistant and ex-linebacker signing on as a defensive assistant.

Yates was starting for the Texans as recently as the 2017 season, which saw Deshaun Watson go down with a rookie-year-ending injury, and was part of the brigade of passers to audition for the Redskins following injuries to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy. The most recent workout occurred in December, but it sounds like Yates, 31, is going to attempt to move into the coaching ranks.

The North Carolina alum played seven NFL seasons, the most notable action coming in a seven-start rookie campaign that featured Yates — subbing for an injured Matt Schaub — quarterback the Texans to their first playoff win. Yates also played for the Falcons and Dolphins, coming back to Houston after short stays with each team.

Dent, also 31, last played during the 2016 as a Texan, finishing off a three-season Houston tenure. The former third-round pick spent most of his career as a backup linebacker but started for the 2012 Falcons, who claimed the NFC’s top seed that year.

The Texans also hired Carl Smith to replace Sean Ryan as quarterbacks coach. Ryan departed for Detroit to be the Lions’ QBs instructor, and the Texans soon promoted tight ends coach Tim Kelly to OC. Smith spent the past eight seasons with the Seahawks, the first seven as Seattle’s QBs coach and 2018 as an associate head coach. His primary role, obviously, was overseeing Russell Wilson‘s development into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

Set to take over in guiding Watson, Smith has been an NFL quarterbacks coach since serving as offensive coordinator for the Saints from 1986-96. Smith, 70, served as either a QBs coach or OC with four franchises, also working with the Jaguars and Browns. Smith’s lone season away from the NFL in the past 33 years came as USC’s QBs coach during the Trojans’ most recent national championship year (2004).

The Texans also hired John Aylward as an offensive assistant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Work Out Free Agent QBs

After losing their top two quarterbacks to injury, the Redskins are in the market for another signal caller. The Redskins will once again audition E.J. Manuel, T.J. Yates, Josh Johnson, and others as they look to support de facto starter Mark Sanchez, coach Jay Gruden announced. 

Naturally, reporters pressed Gruden on whether Colin Kaepernick is or was a consideration for the team. Gruden acknowledged that Kaepernick was discussed, but it doesn’t sound as though he was a real candidate for the Redskins.

[There’s] not a lot of time to get a brand new QB and a system installed and taught in a couple days. He’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go in a different direction,” Gruden said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim).

Backup Colt McCoy stepped in when Alex Smith was lost to a scary leg injury, but McCoy was knocked out of action this week when he suffered a broken fibula of his own. McCoy is holding out hope that he can return in a matter of weeks, but that will be a moot point unless Sanchez can lead the Redskins to a winning streak that will put them in the playoff mix.

The 6-6 Redskins have a 26% chance of reaching the playoffs and a 7% chance of bypassing the Cowboys and Eagles for the divisional crown. It’ll be an uphill battle, however, with Sanchez under center behind a depleted offensive line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Work Out Mark Sanchez, Others

The Redskins are bringing in a group of quarterbacks to work out on Monday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Mark Sanchez, E.J. Manuel, and T.J. Yates will show their stuff for Washington as they seek a new backup quarterback for new starting QB Colt McCoy. Kellen Clemens and Josh Johnson will also get a workout, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

McCoy was thrust into the starting lineup when Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibia. This trio of prospective QBs is not the most exciting bunch, but the Redskins are hoping that none of the three veterans will have to see action.

McCoy has not attempted a pass since 2015, but he is considered one of the NFL’s better No. 2 signal callers. In recent years, the team has flirted with the idea of starting him, so they clearly have confidence in his ability.

On the plus side, all four veterans offer NFL experience. By the end of business on Monday, one of them will take a step closer to seeing live action.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Hosting Group Of Veteran QB’s

In the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo‘s ACL tear that will sideline him for the rest of the 2018 season, the 49ers are making moves to bolster their quarterback room, as the team will host a group of veteran signal callers according to head coach Kyle Shanahan (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN).

The quarterbacks coming in for workouts tomorrow include Tom Savage, T.J. Yates, and Kellen Clemens. Wagoner adds that Shanahan said Matt Moore is “another possibility” and that Nick Mullens would likely be activated from the practice squad. Shanahan has already said that the team won’t bring in any competition for C.J. Beathard, so any quarterback signed would be added solely as a backup to Beathard.

Savage started seven games for the Texans last year, but found himself released by the Saints at final cuts after New Orleans traded for Teddy Bridgewater. Yates also most recently spent time with the Texans, starting three games for them last year. He’s bounced around the league as a spot starter, and even won a playoff game for the Texans a few years back. Clemens just recently saw his long tenure as backup to Philip Rivers come to an end when the Chargers decided not to re-sign him after the 2017 season. Clemens hasn’t seen meaningful action in a long time, as Rivers never missed a start during Clemens’ run with the Chargers.

Overall, it’s not exactly an inspiring group. Beathard should have no trouble keeping the starting job the rest of the way assuming he can stay healthy, and it’s possible the team opts to just stick with Mullens as their backup. Mullens was an undrafted free agent in 2017 who has stuck around on San Francisco’s practice squad.

This Date In Transactions History: T.J. Yates, Akeem Dent

Four years ago today, we had a rare June NFL trade. In a relatively interesting move (at the time), the Texans sent quarterback T.J. Yates to the Falcons for linebacker Akeem Dent.

Houston had actually planned on releasing Yates, their 2011 fifth-round pick. The North Carolina product had failed to show much during his first three years in the NFL, throwing three touchdowns and six interceptions in 13 games. With coach Bill O’Brien deciding to roll with the trio of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, and Tom Savage, Yates was set to be released and hit free agency. However, once word of Yates’ impending release got around the NFL, teams started calling in on the young signal-caller.

Houston ended up landing on a deal with the Falcons, receiving the intriguing Dent in return. The 2011 third-round pick had looked solid during his stint in Atlanta, starting 10 games and compiling 136 tackles in three years. While the Georgia product failed to progress during his time in Houston, the trade still appears to be a win for the Texans. Dent collected 38 tackles and one sacks in 15 games (seven starts) during his first season in Houston, earning himself a two-year extension. However, over the next two seasons, Dent only managed to compile a combined 29 tackles and zero sacks. The 30-year-old hasn’t appeared in the NFL since 2016.

Yates’ tenure with the Falcons was short-lived. The quarterback appeared in only a single game for the franchise, completing three of four passes for 64 yards and one interception. He was released by Atlanta prior to the 2015 season, and he ended up catching on again with… the Texans. Yates looked a bit better during his second (and third) stint in Houston, and he earned a chance to play this past season due to injuries. He finished the 2017 campaign having completed 48.5-percent of his passes for 523 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Kizer, Wilkerson, Broncos, Yates

Hue Jackson took a step back from championing DeShone Kizer following the Browns‘ 14th loss of the season, and on Wednesday, the second-year coach backed off previous talk that the second-round rookie would be the team’s quarterback of the future.

We did not draft a quarterback in the first round and say, ‘This is our quarterback of the future.’ We took a quarterback. We’re trying to grow him,” Jackson said Wednesday when asked of Kizer’s longer-term status, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. ”

… I understand when you take a guy in the second round, everybody suspects that that’s the guy. We wish it is. I mean you hope it is. But if it isn’t, that’s OK, too. And hopefully guy will continue to grow and get better, but you also have to continue to get better at the position.”

Jackson has said this season Kizer could be the Browns’ long-term quarterback solution but said Sunday he wondered if the Notre Dame product — who has 19 interceptions, five more than any other passer this season — would ever “get it.” The then-Sashi Brown-led front office may have viewed the 2018 quarterback crop as superior to this year’s, inducing the Browns to bypass a first-round quarterback in order to not block a possible 2018 Round 1 pick. The Browns are almost certainly going to hold the No. 1 overall pick, so they’ll have their chance at the best quarterback prospect come April.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, shifting to the Muhammad Wilkerson situation.

  • In response to a question about if he’d like to stay with the Jets, Wilkerson said it wasn’t going to be up to him. “That’s up to Todd (Bowles) and the organization,” Wilkerson said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (video link). Although Wilkerson returned to the Jets on Wednesday, he is not expected to be a part of next year’s team due a turbulent season and disappointing run following his 2016 contract extension.
  • Conversely, Brock Osweiler still wants to stay with the Broncos next season despite the team presumably not viewing him as a starter going into a pivotal offseason. Osweiler’s contract is up after Week 17, but he wants to stay in Denver, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post relays (on Twitter). The Broncos have not decided if he or Paxton Lynch will start on Sunday against the Redskins. Osweiler may be amenable to again being the backup in Denver, with the franchise likely to explore options in what promises to be one of the more unique groups of available quarterbacks in the free agency era, and is unlikely to be be viewed as a starter-level talent by another team.
  • With the Broncos having little inclination Lynch can be counted on as a potential above-average starter, Troy Renck of Denver7 explores the idea of the team adding Kirk Cousins. While it would surely cost a team Derek Carr or Matthew Stafford money to sign Cousins, should be become a free agent, Renck notes the Broncos’ inability to replace Peyton Manning has cost them dearly. Manning wasn’t even making $20MM per year, so the prospect of Cousins — whom Renck lists as a player who figures to be pursued by the Jaguars, Bills, Browns, Cardinals and Jets as well — would be interesting. The Broncos are projected to have $30MM in 2018 cap space.
  • On the subject of cap space, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap analyzes some of the league’s worst situations. He lists the Chiefs, who are projected to be $3MM-plus over the ’18 cap, but notes the Alex Smith contract could be moved to create relief. The Chiefs would save $17MM by moving Smith’s deal off their books. Veterans like Tamba Hali or Derrick Johnson ($8MM apiece in cap savings) could also be cap casualties at little cost (less than $5MM between them). The Chiefs will also have decision regarding Dee Ford‘s $8.718MM fifth-year option to make. Fitzgerald adds the Chiefs’ failure to be proactive in extending Justin Houston or Eric Berry helped put them in this place.
  • The Texans will indeed start T.J. Yates again Sunday. Tom Savage could well miss the rest of the season. Savage is a free agent at season’s end.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Ross, Texans, O’Brien

Before he landed on IR, the Bengals spoke with first-round pick John Ross about the possibility of moving to cornerback, Mike Florio of PFT hears. It’s not clear how serious the Bengals were about a position change or why they were thinking about it in the first place. One source speculated that it was a move to help solidify the team’s depth at cornerback and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears the same thing. But, another suggested to Florio that the proposed switch had to do with Ross’ overall toughness.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Head coach Bill O’Brien said he wants to be back with the Texans next season. “I enjoy being the head coach of the Houston Texans,” O’Brien said (Twitter link via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com). “I expect to be here, but those decisions are not made by me.” Since taking over in Houston in 2014, O’Brien’s teams have gone a combined 31-30, including three straight 9-7 seasons and two AFC South titles.
  • O’Brien said he expects T.J. Yates to start for the Texans on Sunday against the Jaguars (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Tom Savage was left shaking on the field after a big hit in this weekend’s loss to the Niners. He was later brought back on to the field for a series, raising questions about the league’s concussion protocol.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he doesn’t get the feeling at all that new GM John Dorsey wants to hire his own coach (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). Although the team has pledged to bring Jackson back for the 2018 season, a report over the weekend indicated that Dorsey is not sold on him.
  • Head coach Sean McDermott says that Tyrod Taylor will be the Bills‘ starting quarterback this week, provided that his knee is healthy enough (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Meanwhile, backup Nathan Peterman is in the concussion protocol. The Bills finished out Sunday’s game with Joe Webb under center, so it will be at least a couple of days before they get some clarity on who their starting QB will be against Miami.

Texans Sign QB T.J. Yates

T.J. Yates is back with the Texans. The quarterback agreed to sign with Houston on Friday morning, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

"<strongAfter losing starter Deshaun Watson for the season on Thursday, the Texans moved fast to sign Matt McGloin. Yates will dress and serve as the No. 2 QB for the game, but McGloin will not be on the roster Sunday’s game against the Colts. Tom Savage, the initial starter for the 2017 season, will be the first man up.

Yates, 30, has seven regular season starts on his resume, plus two playoff starts with Houston. This offseason, the Bills signed him as a reserve, but a concussion in the preseason led to his release in September. He worked out for the Titans and Bengals in October before circling back to the Texans here in November.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Audition Three QBs

After working out for the Titans earlier this week, quarterbacks Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates worked out for the Bengals on Thursday, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Each player was a training camp cut and each trekked to Nashville, Tenn., earlier this week for that group Titans audition. The Titans chose a fourth player in their workout group, Brandon Weeden, to be a likely temporary solution while Marcus Mariota battles a hamstring injury.

The Bengals have two active-roster quarterbacks in Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron, but potential third-stringer Jeff Driskell is on IR with a shoulder injury. McCarron’s also been hobbled by an Achilles injury, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets.

The Eagles cut McGloin after signing him earlier this offseason, and the Bills parted ways with Yates. The 49ers cut Barkley after signing him early in free agency.

Barkley worked out for the Patriots in September, while McGloin also traveled to that workout. Yates did not join that group in New England but is part of the traveling passer crew this week.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Show Interest In Four QBs

With Marcus Mariota on the mend, the Titans are looking into adding a quarterback. The team auditioned Brandon Weeden, Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates on Tuesday, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). "<strong

Mariota is day-to-day with a strained hamstring and his status is up in the air for Sunday against the Dolphins. Currently, the Titans have only Matt Cassel on the roster with Tyler Ferguson on the practice squad. If Mariota can’t go, Ferguson could get promoted to serve as Cassel’s backup. Alternatively, the club may prefer to have a QB with some in-game experience at the ready.

The Titans lost by a score of 57-14 to the Texans on Sunday. After Mariota exited the game, Cassel completed 4-of-10 passes and threw two interceptions. He had 21 passing yards in total.

The team’s decision to not include Colin Kaepernick in the audition will raise some eyebrows, particularly since Kaepernick offers similar mobility to Mariota.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.