The “Brian Hoyer is our quarterback” era may have lasted one week. Ahh the memories.
With his first official pass attempt as a Texan looking like one of his last in Cleveland – an interception that led to Kansas City’s first touchdown two plays later – Hoyer eventually was relieved of his duties with 6:10 left in the game and the Texans trailing the Chiefs 27-9. (A sarcastic, “I’m shocked! Shocked I say!!” is what could be heard from just about every one of the 71,776 in attendance at NRG stadium on Sunday, and who knows how many that listened on radio or watched the 27-20 loss to the Chiefs on TV. At least that’s what I thought I heard them saying when not booing the offensive performance on Sunday.)
Enter Ryan Mallett who displayed a different tact to his displeasure of not earning the job in the first place. Rather than oversleep because “his phone died,” Mallett led the Texans to a touchdown and a field goal in his two drives completing 8-13 for 98-yards and a 85.9 QBR. If you were keeping score at home Hoyer finished with a 12.3 QBR after completing 18-34 for 236-yards with a touchdown and interception. (Don’t feel bad Brian, James Winston debuted with a 6.7 QBR.) Post game, Mallett said nobody in the NFL works harder to prepare than he does and he’s going to give the Texans everything he’s got, and when the subject of oversleeping was brought up, in true Belichickian fashion he responded, “We’re over that. You’re two weeks in the past. All I can worry about is Carolina.”
In his post-game press conference head coach Bill O’Brien said he didn’t know who would start in Charlotte next week without watching the film for an “honest evaluation.”
Here’s my honest evaluation: Ryan Mallett should be the starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer being named the starter was the “safe” and biased decision and the wrong decision. Mallett provides more upside – and would have to be some kind of awful to have a downside worse than what was already known about Hoyer’s from his days in Cleveland.
The preseason competition was a farce with the deck HEAVILY STACKED in Hoyer’s favor, so for the second consecutive season Mallett has had to overcome poor decisions by the Texans in his effort to prove he’s capable of leading this team to the playoffs. (Why do I believe a second time? Because a simple 2014 draft trade of a 6th[?], or the 7th they eventually sent to New England for Mallett would have allowed him a chance to earn the job in last year’s camp – though O’Brien probably wouldn’t have provided Ryan a true opportunity last year either – he sure didn’t this year.) If O’Brien has a problem placing the team’s fate in Mallett’s hands, then he should’ve gone back into the first round of the ’14 draft and selected a quarterback, and never brought Ryan to Houston. I was asked in the NRG press room after the game if I thought the Texans would have drafted Marcus Mariota, had he left Oregon in 2014 instead of this year (after Mariota had a perfect quarterback rating following a four TD performance in the first half of his NFL debut yesterday). My answer was, “Probably not. He probably wasn’t the “type” of QB O’Brien wants for his system.” Am I wrong?
Of all the things Bill O’Brien should have learned during his time alongside Bill Belichick, playing it safe is for losers and making the gutsy decisions is what wins Super Bowls should have been one of those lessons. That’s my take on the QB situation.
Brien Straw co-hosts the Bstraw & PaulyG Show weeknights on SportsRadio 610. (FALL HOURS: Tue. 9:00pm – 11:00pm, Wed. & Fri. 8:00pm – 11:00pm.)
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