Texans morning huddle: Mallett stays the starter, time to get better


The Texans morning huddle is back after taking a day off yesterday, Monday was a tough one after falling behind 28-0 at the half against Atlanta. The good news is this is a short week, so we can move on to the next one even quicker. Let’s catch up with all the news from yesterday, enjoy;

Bill O’Brien: Ryan Mallett ‘has to play better’ but remains starting QB – by Tania Ganguli, ESPN

"Ryan Mallett remains the Texans’ starting quarterback.“He’s our starting quarterback,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “Like all of us, he knows he has to play better. We all have to do better. He’s gotta do a better job of throwing the ball more accurately, he’s gotta be more controlled in the pocket. Don’t turn it over. Get us into the right play. But that’s who we’ll start against the Indianapolis Colts.”Mallett threw an interception against the Atlanta Falcons, and the Texans didn’t score while he was in the game. He completed 12 of 27 passes for 150 yards with a passer rating of 46.8.In his next start, Mallett will likely be without Cecil Shorts III, one of the Texans’ top three options at receiver. Shorts suffered a dislocated shoulder on the final play of Sunday’s game, and O’Brien said he will probably not be available Thursday night when the Texans host the Colts.O’Brien pulled Mallett in Sunday’s game for quarterback Brian Hoyer. During his postgame news conference, O’Brien indicated Hoyer entered the game because the Texans trailed 42-0 and the game was out of hand.Hoyer completed 17 of 30 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans lost the game 48-21, dropping to 1-3 this season.“Brian did go in there and do some things,” O’Brien said. “It was 42 to nothing at that time. It was a passing game, and he did a good job. But I think right now, being on a short week, things like that, I think it’s important for us to stick with Ryan right now. I’ll say this again: We all have to do better. Ryan has to play better. Everybody’s gotta coach better. And we all have to play better. I believe Mallett understands that.”"

In Ill-Advised About-Face, Houston Texans Rely on the Pass – by Chase Stuart, New York Times

"In 2014, the Houston Texans rushed on 52 percent of all plays, the most run-heavy ratio in the N.F.L. Last season, Coach Bill O’Brien’s first, the Texans rushed a league-high 551 times, establishing themselves as a power-running team. In the off-season, the Texans traded quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets and released wide receiver Andre Johnson, which perhaps signaled an even larger commitment to the running game in 2015.Instead, the Texans — through four games — have become one of the most pass-happy teams in N.F.L. history. Including sacks, Houston had 52 pass attempts against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, 59 against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 and 58 pass attempts Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. In the process, the 2015 Texans have become the first N.F.L. team with more than 50 pass attempts (including sacks) in three of its first four games. The Texans have recorded 209 pass attempts (including sacks) through four games, also the most in league history.But the quantity is hardly a reflection of quality, which is why the team has a 1-3 record. The Texans have split the quarterback repetitions between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett this year, with neither inspiring much optimism. Houston quarterbacks have completed just 52.7 percent of all passes, the lowest rate in the N.F.L. As a result, the Texans have thrown an incredible 95 incomplete passes; no other team has even 75 incompletions so far this year. Houston is averaging 5.9 yards per pass attempt this year; every other team is averaging at least 6.3 yards per pass.The Texans were featured on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” over the summer, and the team’s quarterback battle between Hoyer and Mallett was a prominent feature. O’Brien settled on Hoyer, but then benched him in the fourth quarter of the first game. After Mallett struggled, O’Brien reversed course, benching Mallett for Hoyer in the third quarter of Sunday’s game after the Texans trailed the Atlanta Falcons, 42-0."

21 observations from Texans vs. Falcons – by John Harris, HoustonTexans.com

"Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Falcons was a definite gut punch but the staff/team have to put it behind them to get ready for the Thursday tilt with the Indianapolis Colts. There’s a bunch to learn though from Sunday so here are my observations from the Sunday loss.1. The defense couldn’t have gotten off on a better foot with a three and out to start the game. Brian Cushingshadowed Devonta Freeman on a flat route and planted him in the turf on first down. Jadeveon Clowneyknocked down a pass on second down. The pass rush forced an incompletion on third down.2. Arian Foster couldn’t have had a better play to return to the field. The catch he made on the first play of the game is flat outstanding. Wow. The rest of the game was tough, but that catch, man, I’m not sure what receiver makes that catch, much less running back.3. The interception, I’ll be honest, DeAndre Hopkins was mugged the entire way, but it wasn’t called and we can’t expect it to be called either.4. The second defensive series may be as frustrating as it gets. The 4th and one play should’ve been stopped but not everyone on defense did his job, as the saying goes. Devonta Freeman got that first down by inches but he should’ve gone nowhere. Think about how the game changes after a 4th down stop to get confidence. Maybe it doesn’t change at all, but maybe it flips on the spot.5. Then, on the 3rd and six play shortly thereafter, the contain rushers lost contain badly, allowing Matt Ryan out of the pocket to complete a great throw for a first down. Contain – it’s the first tenet of rushing the passer or playing defense. The inability to contain Ryan cost the Texans a key first down.6. When you don’t get blocked, you HAVE to make a tackle. It’s that simple. Devonta Freeman’s first touchdown run was a perfect example of that. Just poor run defense all the way around.7. Falcons DT Ra’Shede Hageman just took over on Sunday. He lined up all over the line of scrimmage and just unleashed. That was University of Minnesota Hagemann and not rookie on Hard Knocks Hagemann, that’s for certain."

Next: Sunday's embarrassing Texans recap