The Year Of Ryan Mallett (And Brian Hoyer)


After much anticipation, the job is finally done. Earlier this week, the Texans locked up Ryan Mallett on a 2-year, $7 million contract. He’ll finally have his chance (again) to prove he is worthy of being an NFL starting quarterback – a very prestigious title nowadays.

Or, will he?

To some people’s confusion, General Manager – errrrr, I mean head coach – O’Brien has brought in his other Brady backup, Brian Hoyer. For those confused or upset about his arrival, let’s talk it through.

Dec 21, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) runs with the ball during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Hoyer is an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sure, we lost a solid beard to gawk at. But, Hoyer not only has a strong relationship with O’Brien, he also is familiar with the system. And don’t forget this often overlooked fact: Fitzpatrick had the best season of his career here under O’Brien. Who knows what he could do for Hoyer?

Let’s also acknowledge the competition aspect to Hoyer coming. Competition can bring out the best in someone. You want your quarterback to fight for his job. It shows that he can handle pressure and that he is a competitor. Now, how fierce of a competition this will be between Mallett and Hoyer remains to be seen – although I think I have a pretty good idea on it.

Also, Hoyer’s arrival also helps – yes, helps – Tom Savage.

Remember: the longer Savage sits out, the better. He can be Ryan Mallett 2.0 in a few years if the Texans find themselves without a QB. Now whether or not that nickname is a good or bad thing remains to be seen at the moment. But the longer we go without seeing Savage (and no, I don’t count Indy), the more interesting of a prospect he becomes.

Still, that’s a ways down the road. Unless Hoyer and Mallett receive season-ending injuries, we aren’t seeing Savage anytime soon. Knock on wood.

Now, the big question: who should you expect to see start week one?

Mallett. No question. Absolutely zero doubt in my mind that Ryan Mallett is the starting QB week one. Why?

Well, for starters, he has about 10 times more upside than Hoyer. It’s also essential for the Texans to see him in action (fully healthy) for more than a week. Enough of the “can he be a quality starter” talk. It’s time to figure out once and for all. That’s why they brought him back, and that’s why he came back. He is the clear-cut favorite to get the nod week one.

Of course, Bill O’Brien will say it’s an “open competition”. He probably won’t say who gets the start for a while. Remember, he wouldn’t say who the starter would be against the Ravens in week 16 until game-day, even though everyone knew it was Case Keenum.

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My only worry is that he draws the competition throughout training camp for a prolonged amount of time. The more reps Mallett gets with the 1st team, the better.

So get ready, Texans fans. You’re only a few months away from finally knowing if Mallett is the answer to your prayers. And if he doesn’t work out, just remember: Hoyer at one point held a 6-3 record two times in his career with the Browns. Just some food for thought if you disagree with him as the backup.

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