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Bill O’Brien to Hoyer, Mallett on Hard Knock: We’re not on a short leash

Bill O’Brien


A report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media on Wednesday indicates that the Texans are preparing Ryan Mallett to be their starting quarterback in Week Two against the Panthers, which would mean the team is benching Brian Hoyer after naming him their starter during training camp.

That report has since been followed up with confirmations from Texans beat writers, which leads us to recall the moment that Hoyer learned he would start the opener.

The conversation that coach Bill O’Brien had with Hoyer and Mallett informing them of the decision was captured by NFL Films for Hard Knocks. In that conversation, O’Brien tells the quarterbacks that he didn’t think there was a big difference between them and that he chose Hoyer because of his consistency. He also said Hoyer would have to earn his job every week and told Mallett to be ready to go every week while adding that he wasn’t putting Hoyer on “a short leash.”
“What I would expect from you, Ryan, is to be a professional about it, to prepare like a starter, to be ready to play,” O’Brien said. “If things aren’t going very well…Look, we’re not on a short leash here, but we’re not going to sit there and let it go eight games of not being very good. You need to be really ready to go.”

Pulling Hoyer from the opener and starting Mallett the next week would seem to contradict the lack of a short leash for Hoyer. It would also call into question what O’Brien and the rest of the staff saw over months of practices to name Hoyer the starter in the first place, which will make the coach’s comments on his ultimate choice pretty interesting to hear.