John McClain: ‘Mallett Is Mentally, Physically Tough’

If you’re a fan of the Houston Texans, you were probably paying close attention to the preseason quarterback competition between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, which Hoyer eventually won.

While you might not agree with head coach Bill O’Brien’s decision, you have to admit that Mallett got a fair shake.

“It couldn’t have been more fair,” Houston Chronicle NFL writer John McClain said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They rotated every day with the first team, alternated starts. He went with Hoyer. I thought it would be Hoyer all along. He looked good against New Orleans. But he called me in Cleveland last year once the competition between he and Johnny Manziel was over, (and) he looked better than he did during the competition. He’s going to be a move-the-chains, manage-the-game quarterback just like they had last year when they went 9-7 – because they know they don’t have their franchise quarterback.”

Hoyer, 29, completed 55.3 percent of his passes for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games with the Browns last season. He has 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 32 games in his career.

Mallett, meanwhile, has attempted just 79 passes as a pro, completing 42 of them for 417 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Mallett was so miserable about losing to Hoyer that he reportedly slept through practice. The Arkansas product wasn’t bashful about sharing his thoughts on the competition, either.

“Well, first of all, I liked what he said,” McClain said. “He could have come in and uttered cliches like so many do. He said, ‘I thought I should have won the job. I thought I played well enough to get the job. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I angry? A little bit. But I will play again.’ So I thought that showed more competitiveness than anything he’d done since he played with a torn pectoral muscle in his second start. It made it so bad he had to have season-ending surgery. He’s a tough guy mentally and physically.”

Mallett, 27, has only played in 10 games since getting drafted in the third round in 2011. Will he ever get a chance to start in the NFL?

McClain says yes.

“This is the first time in his career he’s competed for a starting job – and he will play,” McClain said. “He’s 6-7, about 250, got a great arm. He’s working on his touch. He had a touchdown against New Orleans (in the preseason). He had a touchdown pass that was so close but the ball touched the ground. He had a field goal drive.”

Mallett finished 9-of-17 for 77 yards and a touchdown in a 27-13 win over the Saints on Aug. 30.

“So he’s coming off his best game,” McClain said. “They’re a lot better off at quarterback this time than they were last year when Mallett was still in New England and the quarterbacks with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage.”

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