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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Recently there was a player projection done for Brian Hoyer, if he were to win the starting quarterback spot. Today we will look at the position if Ryan Mallett is the one to walk away victorious in this competition.
A look back
The 6’6″ quarterback began his college career at the University of Michigan, where he posted modest numbers as a freshman. However, when coach Rich Rodriguez was brought in and switched to a spread offense, it was easy to see the writing on the wall for the pocket passing Mallett.
After sitting out the 2008 season due to perhaps the worst rule in the entire NCAA, Mallett made his debut for the Arkansas Razorbacks. In his first game the redshirt sophomore compiled over 300 yards and a touchdown.
He finished 2009 with 3,624 yards and had 30 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. His junior year, he upped his completion percentage from 55.8% to 64.7 % while going for 3,869 yards with 32 touchdowns and 12 picks.
Questions about his maturity, as well as a 2009 arrest for public intoxication fought against the talented quarterback during the 2011 draft, where he fell to the third round and was selected by the New England Patriots.
He joined current coach Bill O’Brien, and teammate Brian Hoyer in New England, giving both passers ties to the man who will ultimately decide who starts the season in the most important position.
During his time in New England he threw four passes, completing one and having one picked off. In 2014 he was traded to the Texans and most people presumed he should be the starter over Ryan Fitzpatrick, who the Texans had brought in earlier in 2014.
Mallett finally made his first professional start against the Cleveland Browns in week 11 and led the team to a 23-7 win. In the game Mallett had 211 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The following week Mallett tore his pectoral muscle, an injury which ended his season. Unfortunately, not knowing the extent of the injury, he stayed in the game and played through the pain.
While trying to be there for his teammates, Ryan may have hurt himself coming in to 2015 as he fared much worse in his second appearance, which I believe was due primarily to the pain he felt while trying to throw.
What to expect in 2015
There is a common misconception that Mallett takes more chances than Hoyer, but this isn’t true at all. Mallett had 2.9 touchdowns for every interception in college as he finished with 69 and 24. For Hoyer it was 1.5 touchdowns for every interception as he finished with 35 and 23.
So Hoyer had one less interception and 34 less touchdowns. That’s not even looking at the yards per attempt, completion percentage and rating, all which Malleett performed better than Hoyer in (while facing SEC competition during their most dominant run).
Mallett may not have many stats to compare during his NFL career, but Hoyer has not improved on his ratio at all as he now has 19 touchdowns and 19 picks in his career. During his lone season as a starter, he threw more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12).
I believe Mallett should win the job, although I have my doubts if he will, because it seems for some reason the team just doesn’t want to trust him. If the team did turn the job over to him, I believe with this solid running game and young receivers like DeAndre Hopkins, Jaelen Strong and Cecil Shorts III, the Texans offense could start to scare some people.
Mallett brings an edge and a fear of getting beat deep that no one else on the roster possesses and I believe if given the chance he could become the answer for a long time at the position for Houston, as opposed to a one year stop gap like Hoyer.
Toro Time bold prediction
If named the starter: 61% on pass completions, 4,050 yards, 26 touchdowns, 14 interceptions