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Brian Hoyer Loses Texans Starting Job to Ryan Mallett

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It was one of the more memorable moments from this season of Hard Knocks.

After an entire offseason of legitimate competition at quarterback, Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien called Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett into his office and announced – with all the decisiveness and poise demanded of an NFL coach – that Hoyer would be the starter.

While O’Brien was quick to clarify he wouldn’t be playing the “short leash” game, he did say that the situation was subject to change pending on-field performance. He appeared to have made the correct decision when, later that week, Mallett displayed extreme unprofessionalism by sleeping through his alarm clock and missing a morning training session.

Just a few weeks and one regular season game since that incident, it appears the trigger has been pulled. According to a tweet from NFL reporter Ian Rapoport, the Texans are “preparing to play with Mallett as their starter versus the Panthers.”

In week 1, Hoyer was pulled after going 18 of 34 for 236 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. A modest stat line on paper, it’s easy to overlook the underwhelming sub-7 yards per attempt and, more importantly, a failure to convert on key downs as the Chiefs’ offense continued to pull away.

At 27-9, Mallett was thrown into a largely hopeless situation, but performed well with his limited playing time. His 8/13 completions for just 98 yards weren’t much more explosive than Hoyer’s ho-hum day, but Mallett’s one touchdown and absence of turnovers helped the Texans pull to within one score.

They may have ultimately lost, but it isn’t hard to see which of the two quarterbacks has a higher ceiling in Houston. The era of conservatism and “playing not to lose” is already over; it’s time for the Texans to trust Mallett behind their versatile offense and destructive D.

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