Texans player projection: quarterback Brian Hoyer


The Houston Texans are about to enter their second year under head coach Bill O’Brien and they look to improve on the 9-7 record from the coach’s rookie year. As we get closer to the start of the season we continue to examine players from the roster and predict what can be expected of them during the 2015 campaign.

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Today we have a “what-if” scenario as we are highlighting quarterback Brian Hoyer, who appears to have a slight edge on Ryan Mallett in the battle to be under center when the first game kicks off in September. This projection is what can be expected if Hoyer does in fact win the starting job.

A look back

Hoyer shared time while in college at Michigan State with Drew Stanton of the Arizona Cardinals. He finished his four years as a Spartan with a completion percentage of 55.8% with 6,159 yards. Hoyer had 35 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in his career.

After going undrafted in 2009 the Ohio native was signed by the New England Patriots, where he first worked with Bill O’Brien, who was the quarterbacks coach for New England at that time.

O’Brien liked what he saw in the undrafted kid enough to leave him as the only backup to star quarterback Tom Brady. Hoyer stayed with New England until the final cuts in 2012 when they decided to keep only Ryan Mallett, the man he now battles for a starting spot in Houston.

After his time in New England Hoyer had a stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but never saw any action. He was claimed by the Arizona Cardinals after the Steelers waived him, but was also only with the Cards for a small time as well, but managed one start.

Hoyer’s most recent stop was in Cleveland with the Browns who signed him to a two-year deal. Brian got into the lineup and had the team playing well with him under center. During a game against Buffalo the quick start by Hoyer came to a halt as he tore his ACL and his 2013 season was over.

In 2014 Hoyer had to compete with first round draft pick out of Texas A&M Johnny Manziel. The veteran held the rookie off and began the year as a starter for Cleveland and despite mediocre numbers, the team was winning.

Yet coach Mike Pettine decided to pull Hoyer in favor of Manziel despite the 7-6 record he had compiled. Manziel was injured and the team had to return to Hoyer as the starter to finish the year.

What to expect

The final stat line was less than impressive; 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. However, the supporting cast around Hoyer was pretty rough to say the least. His top wide outs were a guy who lost a reality show in Andrew Hawkins and the perpetually injured Miles Austin.

At tight end Jordan Cameron was talented, but battled concussions all year and the running back situation consisted of rookies and a failed free agent signing in Ben Tate.

If Hoyer does manage to win the starting job over Mallett he should be better simply by the fact that players around him will help a lot more. DeAndre Hopkins is an upgrade over everyone on Cleveland’s receiving corps (including Josh Gordon because he is always suspended).

The running game and defense will also help a lot more than what he had in Cleveland. For Hoyer, a starting job in Houston would mean he would be able to serve as a game manager who doesn’t have to carry the load all by himself as he did in Cleveland.

His ties to coach O’Brien also will serve him well as there will already be a bond of trust between the two. The plan should be run early and often, leading to Hoyer having short third down plays and opening up a lot of play-action passes.

Toro Times bold prediction for 2015

If named the starter: 59% on pass completions, 3,750 yards 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Next: Texans player projection: Vince Wilfork