By Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610By Paul Gallant


HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Entering their bye week at 4-5, the Texans have an interesting decision to make. They can stick with starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the hopes of a late playoff run. Or – after looking at an 11 team logjam ahead of them in the AFC playoff race – they can turn to backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and see if he’ll provide a much needed spark.

Head coach Bill O’Brien said the Texans would “evaluate everything” when asked if he was considering making a switch over the bye week. And Fitzpatrick understands that.

“Sitting at 4-5, all teams are going to do that,” said Fitzpatrick. “Look for a way to get better during the bye week.”

Fitzpatrick was asked how he’d feel about a quarterback change. The Harvard grad responded: “I don’t live in the hypothetical world.”

“For me I’ve gotta go back and do a self evaluation,” continued Fitzpatrick. “Just look at all the plays that we’ve maide and the plays that we’ve left out there and figure it out. That’s what the next few days will be for. Having some of those discussions and talks and trying to get to the bottom of it and figuring things out.”

Wide receiver Andre Johnson – who was noticeably frustrated today – was asked if he’d like to see a change under center.

“That’s out of my control,” said Johnson. “Coach is going to do what’s best for the team, so that’s their decision. I don’t have anything to do with that.”

At the very least, Johnson seems annoyed with his lesser role in the Texans’ offense.

“I can’t block, I can’t cover guys, I can’t throw the ball,” said Johnson. “All I can do is run routes and try to get open and catch the ball.”

Fitzpatrick was not without his supporters today.

“This game of football is a total team effort,” said tackle Duane Brown. “So you can’t ever pinpoint one position or one player and criticize him too much. And I don’t think he deserves as much criticism as he’s getting.”

“He’s going to go out there and give it his all,” said Hopkins. “He’s a hard fighting guy. Fourth quarter he’s out there running for the extra yards, giving up his body to get the first down. A lot of people, they don’t really see the little stuff. All they see is the big picture, you know, incompletions. But he’s going to go out there and give it his all no matter what.”

“We haven’t made it easy for him at all,” said Brown. “It’s tough to make the throws you want to make when you have guys in your face. It’s out job to continue to protect him the best that we can.”

And without a consistent running game Sunday, Fitzpatrick’s job was all the more difficult.

“Our offense is really built around our run game,” continued Brown. “And we weren’t able to run the ball effectively. When we’re able to run the ball consistently, it elevates his play and gives us a better chance to win.”

Still, Brown was equally supportive of backup Ryan Mallett, who he said has performed well in practice.

“He’s been working hard,” said Brown. “He’s always very positive. Really tries to uplift everyone. He’s very knowledgeable of what’s going on. And you know, he’s made some good plays. I think he works hard.”

Meanwhile, DeAndre Hopkins was asked how much confidence he’d have in Ryan Mallett if a quarterback change was made. His response: “No comment”.

Paul Gallant hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM – with Brien Straw. Get in contact with Paul on Twitter – @PaulyGSays – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.

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