Texans’ QB Brian Hoyer: Re-Learning Bill O’Brien’s Offense Like “Getting Back on the Bike”

By Andrea Hangst

Quarterback Brian Hoyer may be new to the Houston Texans, but he’s already quite familiar with head coach Bill O’Brien. The two worked together from 2009 until 2011 when O’Brien was the New England Patriots’ quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator and Hoyer worked as Tom Brady’s backup. And as he said to HoustonTexans.com’s Deepi Sidhu on Monday, re-learning O’Brien’s offense is much like riding a bike.

Hoyer said,

“It’s not new—for me, it’s kind of just getting back on the bike. You learn to ride a bike and whether you don’t ride it for a year or two, you can pick it up pretty quickly. There’s some adjustments, especially with [George] Godsey being the offensive coordinator. It’s been a great three weeks so far of getting re-acclimated and learning the nuances that he’s kind of put his own spin on.”

Hoyer and fellow quarterback Ryan Mallett are expected to split first-team reps when Phase 3 of the Texans’ offseason workouts begin later in May. Mallett has the slight edge, having been with the Texans last year. But Hoyer has the greater bank of experience, with 17 games played and 16 starts from 2013 to 2014 with the Cleveland Browns. In contrast, Mallett has started only two games in his career, both for the Texans in 2014.

In Hoyer’s time with the Browns, Cleveland’s record was 10-6; however, Hoyer had a completion percentage of just 56 percent over those two seasons and threw 17 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Mallett didn’t fare much better in his limited action last year, completing only 54.7 percent of his 75 pass attempts and throwing two touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

The key for Hoyer so far is spending more time working with his receivers in order to build chemistry and get on the same page. He said, “We’ve put a lot of extra work in after our workouts, whether it’s going in the film room and looking at formations or going over concepts. I think that’s really helped me and it’s helped those guys, too.”

The Hoyer-versus-Mallett battle is likely to be the biggest and most crucial to the Texans’ chances for success this year. At least O’Brien has two quarterbacks familiar with his system. For Hoyer to win out, though, he must prove that re-learning to ride a bike is as easy as the old cliche makes it out to be.

Photo: USA Today Sports