Aug 15, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer (7) throws in the pocket against the San Francisco 49ers in a preseason NFL football game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
A different set of data might point towards a clearer answer: the preseason game statistics. Both quarterbacks ran the same offense, with similar play calling and similar teammates. Mallett may have had more consecutive time in the system, but Hoyer was familiar with it since he used to run that offense in New England.
In the first preseason game, Hoyer started for the team, only playing one series, going 2-4, 67 yards, and 1 TD. This was mainly due to a 58 yard touchdown to Cecil Shorts, but was impressive nonetheless. Mallet, going with the two’s, would finish 10-11 and 90 yards.
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In the second match, Mallet would get the start. He finished 5-7 for 23 yards, while Hoyer would go 7-11 for 52 yards. Neither would be able to find the end zone that game, or even get the Texans in scoring position.
One of the biggest things I’ve heard from Mallett supporters is the fact that while Hoyer had a 60% completion percentage, Mallett had an 83.3%. Which, yes, is a significant difference. But while Mallett played safer, Hoyer played better.
Hoyer threw for 7.93 yards per attempt, while Mallet threw for only 6.28 yards per attempt. Mallett kept throwing check down passes and small throws, instead of showing off his big arm and ripping balls downfield. In fact, after watching the first game, I was shocked to see that Mallett had only thrown one incompletion, and his numbers looked much better than how he had actually performed on the field.
Perhaps the biggest key of all? Hoyer was able to get a touchdown. A quarterback can complete every pass he throws, but if he isn’t able to get the ball into the end zone, then it really doesn’t matter. Hoyer got a touchdown with the one’s, while Mallett couldn’t score with either group.