Although Bill O'Brien recently told Mike Silver that he could decide on who'll be the Texans' starting quarterback before training camp begins, one veteran football reporter has proclaimed that O'Brien won't make the call until considerably later in the process. John McClain writes:
O'Brien won't make a decision on his starter until after he's seen them against opponents like Washington in camp and perhaps the preseason opener against San Francisco, so the job is still open.
While that's an entirely logical stance to take, what with it seemingly preferable to watch more of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett in more of a game situation than running plays without pads, it would represent a bit of a break with how Bill O'Brien has handled this in the past. Granted, the fight between Mallett and Hoyer should be a closer call than last year's tussle between Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum, and Tom Savage, but O'Brien did emphasize the importance of "the team need[ing] to know who the guy is" in his remarks to Silver.
There's also the possibility of the "Hard Knocks" factoring in. HBO would surely love to feature a quarterback competition for the nation's viewing pleasure. All things being equal, O'Brien would probably like to avoid transmitting that drama for public consumption if at all possible. Not to the extent that O'Brien would prematurely name a starting quarterback he doesn't believe in, but I imagine O'Brien would love to keep what makes for good television to a minimum. The less shown for public consumption, the better.
And yet, announcing a starter at QB this early, with so much time left for each candidate to prove himself in front of live opponents, could be seen as sort of flying in the face of O'Brien's desire to create maximum competition at every position on the field, right? Unless, I suppose, Mallett or Hoyer has truly separated himself from the other in OTAs and minicamp.
What's your best guess as to when Bill O'Brien announces who's starting at QB for the 2015 Houston Texans?