The Houston Texans kicked off training camp Saturday, and while outlook is bright for Bill O'Brien's team in his second season as head coach after going 9-7 in his first, there is one element of the team that is huge question mark.
Who will start at quarterback for the season opener, Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer?
It took only about seven 'buttering up' questions to O'Brien from reporters after the first day of training camp before one of the members of the media asked the burning questions directly: Does he know when he will announce the starting quarterback and does anyone have the edge right now?
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"No" and "no."
Of course, O'Brien wasn't ready to give any answers on to has the early edge, and that's assuming one of the two quarterbacks (technically three if you count Tom Savage) actually does at this point. The second-year head coach did mention he is looking for one thing in his starting quarterback: consistency.
"They are both good leaders, they are both good teammates. They communicate well. Again, it is going to come down to who is playing the most consistent," O'Brien said. "When we feel like we have a guy that we think is the most consistent we will go with that guy, but the other guy is going to be right there. There is not much separation. Both guys are good leaders though, they are early in the locker room, they are early out to practice, they stay after practice, and they are working extremely hard and I think that is the sign of a good leader."
While Mallett attempted to answer his questions in post-practice interviews politically, his true feelings about the quarterback competition with Hoyer showed were uncovered after a reporter asked if he feels like he can still win the quarterback competition.
Mallett quickly fired back: "Are you counting me out?"
Both quarterbacks have cases of their own as to why they should be the starter, Hoyer has started plenty of games in the past, and Mallett had O'Brien himself give him his first chance with the reigns for two games in 2014 before his season ended prematurely due to a torn pectoral muscle.
Despite neither Mallett or Hoyer appearing to have the early advantage, Mallett believes the best man will truly win the job with both having a past with O'Brien prior to their careers with the Texans.
"I trust Bill O'Brien with my career, so I feel like I'm going to get a fair shot," Mallett said. "Whatever he decides is what we're going to go with. He's the head coach and we're the players, so it's kind of our job."
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