Hoyer winning QB battle isn’t a good thing for Texans

Sam Monson explains why Houston starting QB Brian Hoyer is likely to struggle in 2015.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/George Bridges)

(AP Photo/George Bridges)

Hoyer winning QB battle isn’t a good thing for Texans

Brian Hoyer has won the quarterback competition for the Houston Texans starting position. Of all possible scenarios for Houston, this is probably the worst coming true.

Had Mallett won the job then they could have at least pointed to the upside and the relative inexperience — the fact that he hasn’t yet conclusively proved he has no business starting in the NFL. The same is sadly not true for Hoyer, who proved that in spectacular fashion last season in Cleveland.

The Browns under Kyle Shanahan had one of the most quarterback-friendly systems in the league, not to mention some of the best pass-protection, at least until center Alex Mack went down with an injury. Hoyer’s role was simply to take advantage of the huge plays that were gifted to him on a plate and not simply lose games all by himself.

He failed at this role badly enough that the Browns were forced to throw Johnny Manziel to the wolves, something they knew at the time was a mistake but felt compelled to do because Hoyer had played himself to the bench. Only Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Kyle Orton and Geno Smith had a worse grade than Hoyer last season (and none had the friendly offense that he did). Hoyer could only complete 55.5 percent of his passes, and despite play-action opening up huge, relatively simple passes for him to complete, could manage a passer rating of just 72.4 on those plays. Russell Wilson by comparison had a passer rating of 152.1 off of play-action.

Brian Hoyer may have won the quarterback competition on Houston, but there is a very real possibility that the loser was not Ryan Mallett (or Tom Savage); it was the Houston Texans.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • dano_in_ny

    With Bortles and and Carr, you’re talking about some guys with decent potential, and I’m not saying that Hoyer wouldn’t, under his old QB coach from NE. Your emotions are very political and journalistic (meaning cra_p!). as though Bill O’Brien should be more interested in managing the future expectation-upside of the downside of a bad season, before a game is played. You have to know O’Brien especially is trying to just win the first game and then every game after that. ONLY.

    • Al

      Carr is a good example. I see basically 0 difference between Hoyer and Carr. They are identical prospects. Anyone saying otherwise isn’t watching very closely. Arm talent on the same level. Athleticism too. But because Carr got some pre draft hype because of some really not that impressive college performances because the media latches on to players seemingly at random to pump up sometimes people say he has potential while the same people will say Hoyer has none. I’ll go further and they are basically clones as players.

      • Jason

        I want some of what you are smoking! Derek Carr and Brian Hoyer are clones? Is this an early April Fools joke? Brian Hoyer went undrafted. Carr was drafted in the 2nd round. Hoyer wishes he had anything close to the arm talent of Carr. Are you Brian Hoyer’s brother or something?

        • Al

          No, but i have an incredible eye for judging arm strength. I said before Kaepernick was ever drafted he had the strongest arm I’ve ever seen (also accurate on tough passes but that’s a side issue). Sure enough he’s been clocked over 70mph (Favre threw 63).

          Carr and Hoyer have about the same arm strength. Neither of them throws an amazingly accurate ball either. Notice how their completion % was almost identical. Carr didn’t do much in college either. Completed like 60% of his passes and not much downfield… should have been a late pick.

          Just because pundits are dumb and get caught up in BS like for example a known name (Carr) isn’t really on me.

          • Don Geevasheet

            You an obvious, obnoxious drug addict. Your lover, Kaapernick, was clocked at 59 mph and has never beaten that number. Conversely, Favre, hit 63 mph while throwing with a broken thumb he had suffered earlier in that season.
            Carr had a very distinguished career and rarely struggled through his college years. He has quite a bit more arm strength than Hoyer, who is an accurate short passer with average arm strength. Nothing more.

  • http://barkinghard.com Barkinghard.com

    The author of this article has absolutely zero clue. Hoyer lead the Browns to the top of the division and was turning heads until Mack went down. That is with one of the worst/smallest wr units in the league, and an OC with one foot out the door.

    On top of it all coming off of a devastating injury that takes most NFL players two years to recover from.

    Get a clue Sam.

    • travis

      Bad situation sure, but even when he was playing he had more INT’s that TD’s and a QBR under 50

  • Amaud Butler

    okay…couple things

    1) Brian Hoyer is the only QB in 23 years to leave cleveland with a winning record (10-7)
    2) The GM, whom was penalized heavily for it, texted the coach pressuring him to put manziel in, Pettine caved and acommadated his GM, Maziel wasn’t “thrown to the wolves”
    3) The Texans roster is surrounded with signifcantly more talent on than cleveland had.

    You don’t need a star at QB to succed. The last time Texans had a QB consistent start throughout the season the team went 12-4. That quarterback’s name? Matt Schaub.

    • travis

      Schaub didn’t take them anywhere special either… The last team that got in there with a mediocre or worse QB was… Rex Grossman in 07? And that didn’t turn out so well.

    • David C Johnson

      Derek Anderson also had a winning record when he left(16-15)

  • Marcus Johnson

    I find hilarious that people are defending Hoyer…hes a backup qb that is about it.

    • http://CareersReport.com J Mcquade2

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  • Jim Winslow

    I would just start Mallet he is younger and has a cannon arm, and jeaz its not even like hoyer is head and shoulders above him.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    Fans always love the young guy upside but sometimes you just have a shiny turd with a big arm. Hoyer has been a good, although inconsistent QB on a dysfunctional team with constant turnover. The Texans should give him some time in a better, more stable system if they want to win.

    If they just want to appease the fans and pretend they have a star in the making for a short season, I’m sure Mallet will be serviceable.

  • Caleb Hale

    If Manchester U lands Neymar, it really won’t help them at all. Neymar needs Messi to be the dominant player that he is. Man U’s coach has one of the most forward friendly playbooks in the league, but Neymar won’t be able to handle the easy passes and setups.

    ^ You see how stupid and idiotic that sounds?
    Yeah, because I have no clue about European football. Same with you Sam. You have no clue what you’re talking about. Stick with hurling.

  • Al

    I’m a bit surprised he won, but maybe I shouldn’t be. They don’t have much else on the roster, just a bunch of unknowns. He was a lot better last year before Mack went down. Mind you a lot is still a below average QB, but he’s also quite young. Guys learn and develop.

    Took Kurt Warner forever to get where he ended up. Whether that’s because teams just didn’t recognize what they had or not I guess is another question all together, but I have a hard time believing they would not be aware on some level. Which tells me it took him a while to put it all together. It is entirely possible that Hoyer falls into this category. Although I do not think he’ll ever a Kurt Warner, he could be a Matt Hasselbeck with some more time to develop (another guy who took a while to see the field).

    I think it’s much too early to say just how bad (or good) a thing this winds up being. I suspect it ends up not being a big deal one way or the other as they will be looking for a QB next year, but we won’t really know until the season is over.

    As a Niners fan, I think the PFF article about the team being in huge trouble without Aldon Smith is a bit premature too considering all the draft picks from recent years who have had to sit behind some seriously high quality veterans. Many of which are showing something this year in the preseason and given Baalke hits much more often than he misses on his defensive picks I think he deserves a bit of benefit of the doubt – at least on defense. Played most of last year w/o him anyway and he wasn’t the same player he was before after having to sit as long as he did. Still had a top 5 defense. And while I love Justin Smith, his production has dwindled with injury. Still a quality player, but much easier to replace than Justin Smith before his shoulder problems.

    It’s way to early to be proclaiming trouble for anyone at this point. Especially teams that have been drafting heavily for the future in recent years.

  • TJ Keiran

    The incorrect assessment of the Browns’ offense makes me question the authoritative reputation this site enjoys. None of the running backs emerged to claim the lead yet Shanahan called run plays up the middle every first and second down leaving the offense in third and long with no one to throw to. Unfortunately for Hoyer, Houston doesn’t have much talent on offense either.

    • Phi Nguyen

      Texans have a better Oline then the Browns (#5 overall) and has much better receivers and RBs than the Browns had..Get your info right..

  • spooky shadows

    in a piece full of hackneyed assertations that the crescendo would be an accidental quoting of last year’s preseason’s stats is especially splendid LOL

  • Nate Dunlevy

    You guys realize that Hoyer is truly terrible player, right? Monson’s points aren’t even controversial. He’s being kind, if anything.

    There’s no ax to grind here, folks. He’s writing a very straight-ahead assessment of one of the worst starters in the NFL.

    There’s really nothing to debate.

  • ThenAtlasSpoke

    What would be interesting is a breakdown of his play WITH a competent center vs. WITHOUT a competent center, then decide if Ben Jones is a competent center.

  • David C Johnson

    Hoyer won’t last in Houston,he led the NFL in 3 & outs last season,and even though the Brown’s had a top-10 scoring defense,and a offensive line rated by PFF at #6,and not to mention that his WR’s led the league in the least dropped passes,he still couldn’t score to save his life

    • Phi Nguyen

      Texans have the #5 rated Oline and much better WRs and RBs than the Browns.

  • http://earthsdestructionchronicle.blogspot.com/ The Observer

    As a Browns fan and watching Hoyer all season, both the good start and very bad finish for Hoyer, my impression is Hoyer will struggle to be NFL average and never an above average QB. Sam here in his article sums it up and his stats support what he said. I never saw flashes of brilliance like you see in nearly every average to above average QB (and somewhat often with the elite). What I saw was some good play mixed in with average at best play and then a terrible close to the season.

    I like Hoyer and hope he finds success but to do that, he will need better play calling and one or two above average receivers along with an excellent pass blocking OL. Those are the factors outside his control. In what he can control or improve upon, he needs to be sharper and have quicker reads and stronger throws.

  • Games23

    Not saying Hoyer is a great QB, the the arguments in the article don’t make any sense. The Shanny offense was easy on the QB for the first 6 games of the season until Mack went down. Up to that point the run was effective and the play action was being sold convincingly, opening big opportunities for Hoyer. Over these games Hoyer was ranked as the 10th best QB in the league by PFF. Then the injury occurred and the running game completely collapsed. Without a running game, the Shanny offense is untenable for almost any QB. Not saying he’s a great QB, but the logic presented in the article is weak.