Ryan Mallett is a Houston Texan. With the Texans' less than ideal quarterback situation, that has naturally led to speculation about whether Mallett could find himself playing a larger role for Houston in 2014 than you might normally expect from someone who was acquired for a conditional 2016 seventh round draft pick one week before the regular season starts.
Some cite to Mallett and Bill O'Brien's shared history with the New England Patriots as evidence that Mallett has a familiarity with O'Brien's scheme that could allow him to make a relatively seamless transition. While O'Brien and Mallett were both employees of the Patriots in the past, they were only together for a single season, back in 2011. That was Mallett's rookie year and O'Brien's final year as Patriots' offensive coordinator; O'Brien left New England to become Penn State's head coach after the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI in February of 2012. Consequently, the notion that Mallett and O'Brien have some sort of lengthy player-coach relationship is misleading and rather overplayed.
It also stands to reason that O'Brien's offensive scheme in 2014 is not identical to what he ran in New England three years ago. He's undoubtedly implemented different ideas and terminology, and it's unfair to expect Mallett to have total recall of what O'Brien liked to do back in 2011 anyway. Both coach and player have evolved to some degree. It's not a static situation.
Not to continue to throw cold water on the idea of Ryan Mallett riding to the Texans' rescue, but take a look at Mallett's career stats. Over the last three years, he's thrown four passes in the regular season, all back in 2012. Of those four career passes, Mallett completed one and threw an interception (to Shiloh Keo, interestingly enough) on another. There's no reason to expect a guy with that level of experience to challenge for a starting gig, particularly when, again, he is changing teams less than a week before the regular season.
And that's not even delving into the lack of chemistry/rhythm Mallett will face by virtue of having completely new teammates on offense without the benefit of any substantive practice time or training camp with those new teammates.
Barring injury or Ryan Fitzpatrick looking utterly overmatched for several weeks in a row, I can't see Ryan Mallett taking a snap at QB for the 2014 Houston Texans unless the season reaches a point much later in the year (e.g., November or December) when it becomes clear the team should be focusing on evaluating players for 2015 and beyond. Even then, it's entirely possible that Bill O'Brien would prefer to see Tom Savage in action instead of Mallett.
Simply put, I'm not expecting anything from Ryan Mallett in 2014. Considering Mallett is entering the final year of his rookie contract, he could very well leave Houston without ever setting foot on the field for the Texans.
If I was a betting man, that's how I'd wager the Ryan Mallett Era in Houston plays out. What say you? Sound off in the Comments and the poll below.
Redskins vs Texans coverage