Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien has been coy with the media this week regarding his decision of who to start at quarterback this week in Carolina. However, thanks to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, we now know that O’Brien has tabbed Ryan Mallett to start over Brian Hoyer when the Texans take on the Panthers.
Hoyer, of course, drew the start last week in the opener against Kansas City, which was an abject failure and a hilarious disaster. He threw an interception on his very first pass, which completely set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. He’d wind up completing 18-of-34 passes for 236 (hollow) yards with a touchdown and the aforementioned pick. Following pathetic drive after pathetic drive, O’Brien finally decided to pull the trigger and yank Hoyer in favor of Mallett.
After Mallett entered, the Texans offense looked completely transformed. He was accurate with plenty of zip on his passes, and, best of all, incredibly decisive. The 2.5 quarters of Hoyer were marred by panicked footwork and skittish pocket presence. Mallett was neither of those things, and it was a thing of beauty.
Both of the drives helmed by Mallett ended with points (11 in all), and Houston would’ve had a shot at winning the game had they been able to recover an onside kick late. In spite of the clear disparity in performance, most of the Houston media was convinced that Hoyer would once again draw the start in Week 2.
I can’t even remember the last time we saw a No. 1 QB yanked in the middle of GAME ONE due to performance, but it was the right decision, clearly. As is the decision to bench Hoyer this week. If Mallett comes out and stinks up the joint against the Panthers, fine. Hoyer has been in the league for years, and was a known commodity prior to ever taking a snap for the Texans. We’ve hardly seen any of Mallett during regular season NFL action, and Texans fans were interested in seeing what they had in the unknown.
The Texans play in what appears to be a trash division in what seems to be a fairly weak AFC. There’s plenty of talent up-and-down the roster to easily think of this as a playoff-caliber team. Reaching their full potential was never going to happen with Hoyer. Will it with Mallett? Who knows, but at least we get to find out.