The Houston Texans have Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett competing to start at quarterback in OTAs this offseason and Bill O'Brien feels he has two strong options to pick from and this comes as Jaelen Strong and Kenny Hilliard are expected to give depth for Arian Foster, DeAndre Hopkins and Alfred Blue on offense this season.
The Texans did not have consistent play at quarterback last season and they still nearly made the playoffs in the AFC. Head coach Bill O'Brien said that after the season if the team had some better play overall, they might have made the playoffs. Now O'Brien has two quarterbacks that he could use to start in Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer and those players are battling in OTAs for the chance to win the job. Last year the team used Mallett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage under center and now Mallett and Hoyer will battle it out.
The team re-signed Mallett after acquiring him in a trade with the New England Patriots last season, while Hoyer signed after he started for the Browns in 2014. Hoyer opened the season 7-4 and was looking pretty good for Cleveland, but he faltered down the stretch and ended up getting benched. The team signed Josh McCown in free agency and that left Hoyer to find a new team. The Texans signed Hoyer to a two-year, $10.5 million contract and the deal has $4.75 million guaranteed, which means he will get a long look as the starter for O'Brien.
According to NFL.com, Texans have "no timetable" for naming a starter and O'Brien could wait until just before the preseason in training camp to officially pick the number one quarterback. At the start of OTAs Hoyer and Mallett split the reps with the first team, according to the Houston Chronicle. It's too early to tell who has the lead, but Hoyer likely will get a leg up since he has more experience. O'Brien has experience working with both players from his time with the Patriots.
Hoyer did not blow anyone away with his numbers last season, as he had 3334 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing just 55 percent of his passes, but Mallett was not much better in three games for the Texans. Mallett had 400 yards and two touchdowns with two picks while completing 54 percent of his passes and in his career he has just 79 pass attempts in seven NFL games played. The battle should be a good one through training camp for Mallett and Hoyer with Savage a wild card, but he likely will be third string.
The team signed Cecil Shorts this offseason and also added Jaelen Strong in the draft and that should be helpful in replacing Andre Johnson, who is now with the Colts. The team has DeAndre Hopkins taking over as the number one receiver and he comes in after having a big year with 1210 yards on 76 catches and six touchdowns. Strong was very productive in college and he should help give depth for the offense along with running back Kenny Hilliard after he was drafted this year.