Expectations to Succeed for Orlovsky

Dan Orlovsky (Getty Images)

When the Houston Texans signed former Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky, it was little more than an afterthought. There is clearly no quarterback controversy in Houston, as Matt Schaub is entrenched as the starter, but Orlovsky could play a big part in whether or not the Texans are a playoff contender in 2009.

Many see the Texans as a possible division title contender in 2009, as they upgraded the defense which was seemingly the team's only weak link a year ago. Still, much of Houston's success will depend on the health of quarterback Matt Schaub, who has never completed a full 16-game season.

Last season's backup quarterback, Sage Rosenfels, allowed Houston to run the same offense when he was forced into action in 2008, but Rosenfels had a tendency to turn the ball over and thus lost games for the Texans. Rosenfels was shipped to Minnesota in the offseason for a fourth-round draft pick, and the Texans decided to pick up former Detroit Lions signal caller, Dan Orlovsky.

Orlovsky started seven games a year ago for the winless Lions, and completed 56.1% of his 255 pass attempts for 1,616 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. His quarterback rating was 72.6 as he played behind one of the worst offensive lines in league history. Orlovsky has prototypical size at 6'5", 230 lbs., and has a strong enough arm to make all the throws, but it was still a pretty big surprise that the Texans decided to sign him over such veterans as Jeff Garcia and Byron Leftwich.

"Well, he's obviously got all the ability to do things with the size of the arm and those things," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said of his new backup quarterback.

The Texans hope that Orlovsky won't take many snaps in 2009, but if he does, his new head coach is confident that he'll be up to the task even though Dan is yet to win as an NFL starter.

"I make a commitment to our team that our quarterback is going to play good," Kubiak said. "I want him to practice that way, and our expectations will be if something happens to (QB) Matt (Schaub) that he will go in there and play like a big time quarterback."

Although Orlovsky did have one of the very best receivers in the game in Calvin Johnson to throw to, he had little else in the way of offensive weapons. With multiple Pro Bowlers on offense in Houston, the young quarterback from Connecticut should have a better opportunity to succeed.

"We've got the ability to work with - now we go to work on all the other stuff, the intangibles, which gives him the chance to be a great player," Kubiak explained.

The million dollar question will be if Matt Schaub gets hurt again, can the offense pick up where it left off with Dan Orlovsky? It's possible on a short-term basis, but if Schaub is out for more than three or four games, the Texans playoff hopes will likely be slim.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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