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The Houston Texans will begin their 2017 preseason schedule against the Carolina Panthers. On Monday, the team announced who will begin the game under center. Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed that Tom Savage will start for the team on Wednesday night. O’Brien also said that first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson and veteran Brandon Weeden will play against the Panthers.

News of Savage getting the starting gig for the first preseason game isn’t terribly shocking. The team has allowed rookie Deshaun Watson to take his time in adapting to the NFL game. Throughout training camp, reports have said that Savage has shown well in practice. Last week, star receiver DeAndre Hopkins publicly endorsed Tom Savage as the starting quarterback.

Tom Savage as Permanent Starter?

Although Savage is beginning the preseason as the starter, it is widely anticipated that Deshaun Watson will eventually win the starting gig. Savage could feasibly start the beginning of the regular season as well, before making way for the 12th overall selection in the 2017 draft.

If Savage can continue to play well throughout camp, he may even force himself into the conversation as the starter for the entire 2017 season. However, Watson will inevitably take over as the starter at some point. The Texans didn’t trade away their top pick in next year’s draft to have Watson sit on the bench. However, it certainly can be beneficial for the rookie to develop and learn from the sidelines to begin his career.