The Ryan Mallett era, or error as it may be, is officially over in Houston as the Texans grew weary of his constant issues and excuses. The first widely publicized issue between the quarterback and team came during a ‘Hard Knocks’ episode where Mallett “slept in” and missed an entire practice.
During the show head coach Bill O’Brien says not to call Ryan or go to his house because he is a grown man, but the frustration is evident in his voice as if issues with the young man were nothing new.
Mallett then shows up the next day and is full of excuses as he talks with general manager Rick Smith. He rambled on and on like a man trying to convince himself that his missing practice was just a trivial incident with no underlying reason.
Anyone who paid attention at all knew this was complete garbage. Mallett was told the day before that he would not be the starting quarterback as he had hoped and instead the team was going with Brian Hoyer. Losing the quarterback competition was the reason Mallett stayed home. He did not sleep in, he was pouting.
The next red flag this season came during the Thursday night contest with Indianapolis where Mallett left the game after taking a hard tackle. Hoyer entered and the team instantly looked better, which led O’Brien to stick with the veteran passer over Mallett.
As he stood on the sidelines he made the same face a fifth grader would make if he was told he couldn’t go to a friend’s birthday party. The sulking on the sideline drew criticism from the announcers that night and media pundits around the world the next day.
No true professional player should be happy to be benched, however they also should show enough support for their team to hold their emotions in and not act like a petulant child.
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This past Sunday was the final straw as Ryan managed to miss the team flight to Miami and flew commercially to meet the team before the game. Once again it wasn’t his fault, as he had an excuse ready that he was stuck in traffic.
The same traffic that held him up was the very traffic that every other member of the team, coaching staff and executives managed to traverse without being late.
Reports have surfaced that if the team had another quarterback on the roster Mallett wouldn’t have even dressed for the game. Instead they let him stand on the sidelines in case of an injury to Hoyer and as of Tuesday he was officially an ex-Texan.
After watching Mallett spiral down this season it’s hard to imagine there was ever a time his maturity seemed to have improved. His time in Houston was full of immature decisions and his role on the team was a mistake. A mistake which O’Brien is solely to blame.
The Texans’ coach was Mallett’s offensive coordinator in New England where he was drafted. The talented kid fell to round three due to maturity issues then and as his time went on with the Patriots, he never showed any signs of changing.
A Bleacher Report piece from 2012 by Randolph Charlotin pointed out that Mallett, then a second-year player, showed no signs of changing after a full season in the league.
"It’s year two of Mallett’s career and it’s looking very much like year one. You would think he should be displaying significant progress as a passer. By all reports, however, so far he’s been disappointing in training camp.The narrative didn’t change in the first preseason game, as Mallett continued to scuffle along with inconsistent play. With a full offseason to learn the pro game and evolve as a quarterback, it looks like Mallett hasn’t progressed."
Inconsistent play absolutely defined Mallett’s short tenure in Houston. At times he would throw a beautiful laser pass for a score, then he would skip a few passes short of their intended target.
The cycle this season was just like last year when he had a great game against Cleveland, he would follow it with a dud like he did against Cincinnati. Then an excuse would surface, like how it was said he played poor against the Bengals due to playing through pain.
The fact that Bill O’Brien had a history with Mallett simply means he made a huge judgement error in believing the young man could change. He didn’t change throughout his collegiate days or his New England days.
By thinking he would become a new man during his Houston days O’Brien did a huge diservice to himself, the team and the fans. And he has no one to blame for this error in player evaluation except himself.