The Houston Texans are expected to start Ryan Mallett during the second game of the season, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, and the move doesn’t come as a surprise. However, that it happened so quickly is a small shocker.
Brian Hoyer, who earned the initial starting nod, knew he was on a short leash. In fact, anyone who watched HBO’s “Hard Knocks” was are of Houston’s volatile quarterback situation.
ESPN’s Tania Ganguli posted a reminder of what Texans coach Bill O’Brien said on the show, that he wasn’t going to watch poor quarterback play for half of the 2015 season before making a move. But Hoyer certainly didn’t receive a prolonged chance under center.
On Hard Knocks O'Brien told Mallett and Hoyer he wouldn't go "eight games of not being very good." Instead Hoyer got 3 quarters. #Texans
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) September 16, 2015
Hoyer completed 18-of-34 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown during Houston’s season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. However, he threw an interception—literally—on his first attempt of the game.
After the Chiefs kicked a field goal to increase their lead to 20-6 following a Texans three-and-out, Hoyer was sacked and subsequently fumbled, and Kansas City scored a touchdown on the next play. Houston’s next seven Hoyer-led drives, however, resulted in an average of 25.6 yards and a total of three points.
Mallett entered what felt like an already-decided contest and engineered a pair of scoring drives. He connected with star wideout DeAndre Hopkins five times for 59 yards and one touchdown.
A failed onside kick ultimately resulted in a 27-20 victory, but Mallett racked up 98 yards and sparked a potential controversy.
Would O’Brien actually switch quarterbacks after Week 1? As it turns out, yes.
Mallett—who overslept an alarm during training camp the day after O’Brien named Hoyer the starter and seemed to enter the coach’s proverbial doghouse—will be the No. 1 against the Carolina Panthers during Week 2.
The switch might prove to be the smart decision, especially considering Mallett’s above-average arm that he showcased on the touchdown to Hopkins, but what felt inevitable eventually in the 2015 season arrived much, much sooner than expected.