Ryan Mallett Is The Answer At Quarterback For Texans
By Randy Gurzi
There has been much talk this offseason about who will be the quarterback for the Texans in 2015. Originally the question centered around guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum and Tom Savage.
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Then the team made some moves and the landscape changed. Fitzpatrick was dealt to the New York Jets, Keenum to the St. Louis Rams and they brought in Brian Hoyer from the Cleveland Browns.
Now the talk is about how there will be a quarterback challenge between Hoyer and Mallett for the starting job in Houston. I will come right out and call the competition over. Ryan Mallett is the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans, and it should not even be a question.
The reason I feel so strongly has as much to do with Hoyer as it does Mallett. We all know what Hoyer is, and that is a decent backup quarterback who can run a system for a few games. He is good in small doses, but not a full-time starter.
In Cleveland he had the team on a three game winning streak during the 2013 season and there was talk about him being the hometown kid set to save the ailing franchise. A torn ACL ended that run and he had to wait until 2014 to again prove his worth.
At one point the Browns were 6-3 and looked poise to compete for the AFC North title. Then the wheels fell off, and Hoyer was benched for an ineffective rookie quarterback in Johnny Manziel, only to come back after the rookie was hurt. The last seven games saw only one win and the team limped to a 7-9 record.
Hoyer finished with 3,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, not terrible, but not starting quarterback worthy in my opinion. So why then did the team bring him in?
The Texans brought in Hoyer because of the fact that he started his career with current Texans head coach Bill O’Brien in New England. O’Brien saw the Texans struggle to keep quarterbacks healthy last season and now knows the value of a backup quarterback he can trust.
That is what Hoyer is for O’Brien, a player who knows what the coach wants and he can trust him to handle a few games if necessary. In Houston the team can rely on it’s running game and defensive to squeak out a win or two with a game manager at quarterback if an unfortunate injury should happen to fall on their starter again in 2015.
With Hoyer’s past it is easy to see why he is here. With Ryan Mallett, it is just as easy to see why the team brought him in and should turn the offense over to him this season and beyond.
Mallett was the 74th overall selection, taken in the third round by the New England Patriots while O’Brien was the offensive coordinator. The strong-armed quarterback fell quite a ways as he was often thought to be a first round talent.
The Texans were able to swing a deal to bring Mallett in for almost nothing, especially after the Patriots drafted another quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo and Mallett was set to be a free agent. The Pats took a late round pick just to get something in return.
“I wasn’t on the same page when I got here but I am now.”
That meant Mallet came in much later than the other guys on the roster, who were able to attend offseason programs, training camp and preseason games together. Mallett was behind the eight-ball and had to wait to get adjusted.
Yet when called upon to start after Fitzpatrick was hurt, the former Razorback put up 211 yards, two scores and a 95.3 rating. Very impressive for a guy who did not have many reps in practice with his receivers up to this point.
The following game Mallett played with a torn pectoral muscle, which did nothing to help his stock as he didn’t look the same as he did the week before. However, looking at the one subpar game would be a mistake. Mallett himself will admit he wasn’t as ready as he wanted to be, but he says he will be this year.
"“This is a great city. I had a good experience last year.” He said via the Houston Chronicle “I wasn’t on the same page when I got here but I am now.”"
Instead of focusing on a game he was hurt in, look at the promise he has shown ever since his days at Arkansas. After transferring from Michigan and having to sit out in 2008, the Arkansas quarterback posted 3,624 yards, 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2009. The following year he had 3,869 yards with 32 scores and 12 picks.
There is no denying his arm strength and accuracy. Coupled with the work ethic and positive attitude he has shown since his injury and you have a guy who is ready to emerge as a leader and the face of the offense for the Texans.