As many Houston Texans fans already know, head coach Bill O’Brien was able to lead the team to a 9-7 record last season despite having to start 4 different quarterbacks. So logically, many people want to know who O’Brien’s number one choice is going to be for this season.
But does it really matter?
When looking at the Houston Texans’ training camp and OTA’s, many fans focus in on whether the starting QB gig will go to veteran Brian Hoyer or unproven Ryan Mallett. Numerous sports writers have stated who they think will win in the end (including myself). So why would I ask whether or not it matters?
Because I believe that what actually matters is O’Brien’s skill at coaching.
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Let’s start with wins vs losses. Of the four QB’s that started, only three of them played an entire game (Tom Savage came in for the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, but never started a whole game). Those were Fitzpatrick (6-5), Mallett (1-1), and Case Keenum (2-0). All of them had relatively close levels of success, even though they were statistically all over the place.
For example, in Week 16 (vs BAL), Keenum threw for 185 yards, completed less than 50% of his passes, and threw no touchdowns with one interception. However, in Week 7 (at PIT), Fitzpatrick threw 262 yards, threw 2 touchdowns, and one interception. Fitzpatrick was better in every single category, yet Fitzy lost and Keenum won.
Each of these three also had different amounts of time to prepare for these games, as Fitzpatrick was on the roster from the beginning of the offseason, Mallett was signed after preseason, and Keenum was signed about a week before he would start in Week 16. These different levels of experience with the Texans’ offense and the ability to succeed in it show how good of a coach O’Brien really is.
Both Fitzpatrick and Keenum are gone, but now Brian Hoyer, an upgrade to Fitzpatrick, has been added to the roster. Whichever quarterback O’Brien decides to start, the Houston fanbase should expect to see at least a repeat of last year’s record, barring any major injuries, with either Hoyer or Mallett in the driver’s seat.