One team with a very unclear status at quarterback heading into the preseason are the Houston Texans, having no idea who starts for them at the most important position: Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett.
Hoyer is coming off a season with the Cleveland Browns in which he started 13 games. The Browns went 7-6 under his starts, but his numbers (55.3% completions, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions) are far from satisfying or promising. Still, the Texans seem to be once again simply looking to shuffle around until something works, not really satisfied with the Ryan Fitzpatrick tenure last season.
The opponent for Hoyer will be Ryan Mallett, who worked with Bill O’Brien for one season in New England, when Mallett was a backup and O’Brien was the offensive coordinator. Mallett had two starts last season for Houston, completing 54.7% of his passes, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions. A very small sample size, but Mallett, probably because of his familiarity with the system, is the favorite to start. Tom Savage is going to be the third stringer.
So what can Hoyer do to make up for lost time? They’ll be splitting reps at OTAs, as this is a wide open QB competition as it can get compared to the rest of the NFL. No franchise guy; no promising new rookie. One veteran who hasn’t done much in terms of great numbers; another backup who has barely gotten a chance to start games.
It’s not new – for me, it’s kind of just getting back on the bike. You learn to ride a bike and whether you don’t ride it for a year or two, you can pick it up pretty quickly. There’s some adjustments, especially with (George) Godsey being the offensive coordinator. It’s been a great three weeks so far of getting re-acclimated and learning the nuances that he’s kind of put his own spin on.
For me, I’m kind of re-acclimating myself, so we’re all kind of learning together. We’ve put a lot of extra work in after our workouts, whether it’s going in the film room and looking at formations or going over concepts. I think that’s really helped me and it’s helped those guys, too. Especially in this offense, you’re asked to do so much, so if you can do without thinking, it speeds up the process that much more.
Hoyer has been working with receivers in order to build some sort of chemistry with them heading into the workout sessions and camps, and also trying to learn their route running as quickly as possible, trying to be prepared when it’s time for him to impress.