In the NFL, no player is more important than your starting quarterback. Stability and talent at that position are one of the most important facets of a winning team. In Houston, the Texans have yet to find their man under center. Since their inaugural season in 2002 they’ve yet to find that elite signal-caller, sticking first with David Carr then Matt Schaub. They’ve been in flux since trading Schaub following the 2013 season, and this training camp Bill O’Brien has been forced with a tough decision as to who will start for his team.
That decision had officially been made.
Brian Hoyer will start the 2015 season for the Texans, beating out Ryan Mallett for the starting job. Hoyer started the season for the Cleveland Browns in 2014, and had mild success before being subbed out late in the season.
Although Hoyer was named the starter, there’s no guarantees he finishes 2015 with the job. The Texans played four quarterbacks last season, so expect to hear Mallet’s name still floating around this season.
Let’s take a look back at the QB competition:
1. Both QBs Are Former Patriots
Bill O’Brien knows who the best quarterback in the NFL is. After working with Tom Brady during his five seasons in New England, O’Brien and the Pats had one of the NFL’s best passing attacks. In 2011, When O’Brien was the OC and the Pats went to the Super Bowl, Brady had two backups working alongside him. Those backups were Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.
Hoyer went undrafted in 2009, but the Michigan State prospect impressed during the Patriots’ preseason. He served as Brady’s backup and played sporadically until 2011, when the Pats drafted Mallett.
Ryan Mallett was a highly rated prospect when the Pats selected him in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Hoyer and Mallett competed to be Brady’s primary backup for that year, with Hoyer retaining the position. Hoyer was then released by the Pats after the 2012 season, bumping Mallett up to the backup role.
2. The Pats Traded Mallett to Houston in 2014
In the 2014 Draft the Pats took Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round, signaling the beginning of the end for Mallett. After Garoppolo impressed in preseason, New England traded Mallett to Houston in exchange for a conditional late-round draft pick. Mallett joined the team too late to compete for the starting role, but was named the starter in Week 11. Mallett won his first start, throwing for 211 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-7 win over the Cleveland Browns.
The Texans looked good, and were excited about the future with Mallett at the helm. It never happened. Mallett tore his pectoral before the team’s next game, and was shut down for the season.
Going into this season, Mallett recovered and trained with the intentions of being named the starter before the season. Things were complicated after the Texans signed Brian Hoyer in March.
3. Hoyer Had Success With Cleveland Last Season
After being released from New England in 2012, Brian Hoyer went home. He trained at his former high school St. Ignatius, and threw passes to kids while waiting for a team to call.
First it was the Steelers, who needed Hoyer as a safety net in late 2012. They cut him on December 8th of that year, and two days later he was an Arizona Cardinal. 13 days after signing, Hoyer was on the field for Arizona, replacing Ryan Lindley for the remainder of the season. That performance was good enough to earn a call from his hometown Browns, where Hoyer thought he could contend for a starting role.
In a depth chart crowded with Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden, injuries got Hoyer on the field in Week 3 of the 2013 season. Hoyer looked sharp, and was 2-0 before suffering a torn ACL in his third start against the Bills.
In 2014, Hoyer once again considered himself a starter heading into the season. His newest competition was Johnny Manziel, who many thought should be given a chance to succeed. Hoyer won the job and had a solid run with the Browns, starting the season with a 6-3 record. Hoyer had his worst game of the season against Mallett and the Texans in Week 11, opening the door for Johnny Manziel to get his shot.
4. Bill O’Brien Has Been Tight-Lipped About Naming His Starter
When an NFL teams doesn’t have a clear starting quarterback heading into camp, the media will surely make it the focal point of discussion. O’Brien was asked daily about the status of his depth chart, but until today had not given a firm decision. He gave both quarterbacks equal opportunities to start, and Hoyer won the job outright.
O’Brien gave one preseason start to each QB to prove their worth this season. Hoyer started the first week, and engineered an opening touchdown drive against the 49ers. Mallett had some success, but the offense struggled at the goal line. This past Saturday both quarterbacks failed to score against the Broncos, with Mallett totaling just 23 passing yards in two offensive series.
5. Mallett Was Not Happy With the Decision
After short-lived success last season, Mallett expected to be the Texans’ starting QB this season. Now that he has been usurped by Brian Hoyer, it’s no surprise he’s not happy about it. Mallett spoke with reporters after O’Brien named his starter today:
Although Mallett is upset, it may not be for long. O’Brien won’t stick with Hoyer if he made the same mistakes he made in Cleveland, and the Texans used four quarterbacks throughout the 2014 season.