ESPN Ryan Mallett will replace Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback of the Texans, coach Bill O’Brien announced Wednesday. “Watching Ryan [Mallett] in practice every day, I believe it’s gotten better and better,” said O’Brien, who told both quarterbacks of the news early Wednesday morning. “His huddle command, his knowledge of the offense, he’s been in this system for four years. … I think he’s made a lot of progress whereas he’s never played in a game or hasn’t had many reps in a game. We’re going to give him his shot to play.” The Texans traded for Mallett in September, sending a draft pick to the New England Patriots. That pick is a conditional sixth-round pick on the condition that Mallett plays in 40 percent of the Texans’ snaps this season. Mallett, a third-round draft pick in 2011, spent the first three seasons of his career as a backup to Tom Brady with the Patriots. O’Brien was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator that season before he left New England to be Penn State’s head coach in 2012. O’Brien said that upon Mallett’s arrival in Houston this year, the coach saw a player who had “grown up” since he last saw him and that it was apparent that he had learned a lot from Brady. “He has a much better knowledge of football and what it takes to be prepared,” O’Brien said of Mallett. “Now it’s time to put him out there and see what he can do.” Mallett’s first start will come in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns, who are led by quarterback Brian Hoyer — another former Brady backup.
It’s the Houston Texans bye week, and it’s a perfect time for the team to see what they have in Ryan Mallett, and the best place scenario is discovering that he is the franchise quarterback that head coach Bill O’Brien has been looking for and he sparks the (4-5) Texans on a winning streak that leads to a playoff run. The worst case scenario is Mallett stinks, the Texans lose-out, and they have a better draft pick to continue their search for a franchise quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft. There is no doubt that the Texans have a very talented roster, their one glaring weakness is quarterback, and if there is any chance that Mallett is the answer now is the time for the Texans to take it.