In what Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged was a "subpar" night for the offense as a whole, quarterback Ryan Mallett turned in a largely pedestrian performance in the team's 14-10 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday.

Mallett, who is competing with veteran Brian Hoyer for the team's starting job, completed 5-of-7 passes for just 23 yards and a passer rating of 75.3. The 27-year-old Mallett played two series before giving way to Hoyer.

"We've got to come out faster," Mallett said, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "I was just trying to get into a rhythm. I wish I could have played longer, but it is what it is. We made a couple of first downs, but there were more plays to be made out there. So, we just got to make better plays."

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O'Brien said it would likely be difficult for to determine a winner in the quarterback battle based off of Saturday's performance.

"Probably be tough to do," O'Brien said. "I do think it's very even, and that says a lot about both guys. Was it great? I thought the whole offense was really subpar. I don't think it was any one guy's fault. I'd say it starts with me."

Hoyer failed to do much better than Mallett, going 7-for-11 for 72 yards and a passer rating of 74.8.

"We have a long way to go," Hoyer said. "I think the offense is only going to go as far as the quarterback takes it. That doesn't mean that we have to go out there and try to make plays. You take what the defense gives you."

As Wilson notes, Hoyer is considered the front-runner, but O'Brien has thus far declined to identify who will line up under center Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"We'll figure out what we want to do," O'Brien said. "I feel like we're in a pretty good place with both of those guys as far as our evaluation and what we know about them, but we're not in a rush to make any decisions."

(h/t Houston Chronicle)