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:
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 believe the #Texans quarterback competition has about another week left. This is not the beginning of it. Just my opinion.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 1, 2015
This Texans quarterback competition might be over sooner than you think. #HoyerWins— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) August 1, 2015
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:
Much better day for Mallett in his turn working with the 1s. Still a little inconsistent underneath but making some splash throws.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) August 2, 2015
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:
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?