(Photos courtesy of Houston Texans)
TALK OF FAME NETWORK
Houston coach Bill O’Brien won’t wait long to name a starting quarterback, telling the Talk of Fame Network he’ll decide on Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer “toward the end of the spring …maybe at the beginning of training camp.”
So the race is on.
Mallett played for O’Brien last year, going 1-1 before he was hurt. Hoyer played for Cleveland last year, going 7-6 before he was benched in favor of Johnny Manziel. Both spent time with O’Brien while he was in New England so they know his system, and both have legitimate shots to win the job, with O’Brien confident the choice won’t linger.
“We’re not going to let it last too long before we name a starter,” he said on the TOF’s latest radio broadcast.
What he didn’t say was who that choice would be, though it’s clear he’s comfortable with either. It’s also clear what he doesn’t expect them to be … and that’s the quarterback they sat behind in New England.
If there’s a danger in evaluating Mallett and Hoyer, O’Brien said, it’s comparing them to the gold standard. While both may have served under Brady and learned from him, the reality is that neither is Tom Brady … and, O’Brien reminded listeners, that’s an important lesson to remember.
“You can’t compare anybody to Tom Brady,” he said. “If you start going down that road you’re going to end up in trouble. Tom could do so many things. Obviously, he had a great skill set, he could throw (and) he had really good feet.
“(But) the thing that made Tom so good was his mind. He had just unbelievable brain power when it came to football, being able to process a play and make the right decision within two or three seconds. That’s hard to find. So you’re not out there looking for that. You’re looking for some of those qualities.
“What we found in Brian and Ryan are two guys that are smart, that know our system, that can throw the ball and that have been developed in a way that can help us … because they backed Tom up. So they learned from a guy who’s going to go down as the best of all time in my opinion. They learned from a guy day in and day out for multiple years how to do it. And now they’re getting a chance to do it.
“And one of them is going to get a chance to be the starter and actually go out on the field and do it. But we’re not asking that guy to be Tom Brady. I think you get in trouble when you try to do that. It’s more about, hey, taking the good things you learn from him and then just be yourself.”