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Bill O'Brien Fires A Shot At The Media Over QB Criticisms

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The weather along the Gulf Coast in August is hot, really hot, but the Houston Texans' head coach is steaming for another reason--the media's controversial criticisms of quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.

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The quarterback battle is only just getting underway in Houston, but many in the media have already been taking liberties with some bold assumptions about who will be named the starter.  The dismissive perspectives and negative tones do not sit well with the head coach.  Bill O'Brien has several years of personal experience with both of the challengers vying for the starting job to lead Houston's offense for the 2015 NFL season.

O'Brien Fires Back At The Media

We often hear players and coaches say that they don't read what is being said about them or the team, but it appears that head coach Bill O'Brien is aware of what is being said when it comes to his quarterbacks.

Sports Radio 610 included this in their latest article on the subject:

"I read. I understand what’s written out there and you know, sometimes it pisses me off," O’Brien said Sunday. "These are two guys that are good quarterbacks that have played in this league. They work very hard.They’re out here busting there ass everyday to get better and I think the city of Houston should be proud of both of them and I think the media should understand that these guys can play."

There have been rumors Hoyer has already been selected as the team’s starter, but O’Brien took exception to that notion too.

"That would be absolutely untrue," O’Brien said. "Every play, every day is evaluated. These guys are very even and no decisions have been made."

Tania Ganguli included this in her latest article:

"I know what both those guys do in the building; I take a lot of pride in both those guys," O'Brien said, the intensity in his voice rising. "I know both those guys very well. I read, I understand what’s written out there. Sometimes it pisses me off to be honest with you.

"These are two guys that are good quarterbacks that have played in this league, they work very hard. They’re out here busting their ass every day to get better and I think the city of Houston should be proud of both of them. And I think the media should understand these guys can play. They gotta go out there and do it. Look, if they don’t go out there and do it they don’t do it but I have a lot of faith in those guys. One guy will start, one guy will be the backup, and I’m looking forward to continuing to coach them. I think they’re two good quarterbacks and I like both of them."

What Did O'Brien Read?

Much of the media has all but had Brian Hoyer penciled in as the starter ever since he was signed.  Why?  Is it because he has more NFL starts than Ryan Mallett?  Is it because his contract is for more money?

Here is an example of some of the things written out there that O'Brien may, or may not, be referring to:

I won't go back and pull all the of national media articles that have reflected similar early assumptions, but these tweets give the general perspective.  I don't understand how anyone with good analytical ability is calling the race over on the first day of training camp.

The Media Reacts

It appears that O'Brien's message was received loud and clear when you observe the latest tweets:

At least one person from the local media seems to feel that ongoing criticism is justified for a Houston team that has struggled to find a franchise signal-caller, perhaps dating back to its inception (a point Matt Schaub would like to challenge, I'm sure):

This take from Solomon likely resonates with some of the frustrated fan base in Houston who want O'Brien to find a franchise quarterback who will lead the team for many years to come:

"I know what both those guys do in the building," he said. "I take a lot of pride in both those guys. I know both those guys very well."

That's fine for O'Brien, but we don't know those guys very well. This time a year ago, neither was even with the Texans.

Frankly, what they do in NRG Stadium when there aren't 70,000 in the seats, a clock running and a game being played means very little to us.

I don't care if they clean the toilets, vacuum the carpet and take out the trash every night. It is what they do "in the building" on Sundays during football season that matters. And thus far in their careers, they haven't done much.

They have been at the end of the bench and at the bottom of most statistics since they came into the NFL. Of the 46 players who have thrown at least 600 passes since Hoyer entered the NFL in 2010, only two have thrown fewer touchdown passes than he has. Of the 81 players who have thrown at least 75 passes since Mallett came into the league in 2011, only three have thrown fewer TD passes than the two he managed with Houston last year.

Unfortunately, the NFL doesn't have an "elite quarterback store" for Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien to visit.  It is what it is, and Texans fans will have to trust that O'Brien will make the right choice.  Admittedly, I would like to see what Mallett can do since we have so little to go on to know what his true performance ceiling is.  Hoyer has a very consistent body of work that sets expectations with a "game manager" performance ceiling, but that's not to say that improvement beyond that is completely out of the question in O'Brien's system in Houston.

We are only three days into training camp, and both of these guys are still getting up to speed with the current roster.  It takes time to develop individual chemistry with the receivers.  The evaluations being done by the coaches include a much deeper analysis than some media person who watches from a tented view in the summer heat and tries to be the first one to tweet about it.  The coaches will review film, and they know what the reads need to be, if the receivers ran the correct routes, if the decision making by the quarterback was correct, and ultimately if they mentally and physically delivered as expected.

I'm glad O'Brien said something, because most of us here have been pretty frustrated with the media's handling of the quarterback coverage so far.  My guess is that things will be handled with better neutrality for the next week or two until the official announcement of the starter is made by O'Brien.  Then we'll get the second-guessing articles and "I told you so" pieces to chew on, right?

What's your take on this?  Do you applaud O'Brien for calling them out and for defending his players?