Bill O'Brien Is Trying to Sell You on Texans Quarterbacks

David Carr. Tony Banks. Matt Schaub. Sage Rosenfels. Rex Grossman. Matt Leinart. T.J. Yates. Jake Delhomme. Case Keenum. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ryan Mallett.

These are just some of the mortals who have started as the quarterback for the Houston Texans during the history of the franchise. That’s a pretty mediocre bunch, and just one of the many reasons the Texans have accomplished almost zip as a franchise.

Head coach Bill O'Brien is tired of hearing the quarterback issue. Sure, he and the team decided that Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t worthy of a draft pick last year, instead wasting the No.1 pick on Jadaveon Clowney. Who would want to draft a possible franchise QB in the first round when you can draft a guy who, in college, was known as an underperforming, injury-prone defensive lineman? After all, the Texans drafting an underperforming defensive lineman with the first pick of the draft is kind of part of the team’s DNA.

The Texans were sufficiently mediocre last season that the team wasn’t in a position to get a high draft choice, so that guaranteed that the team wasn’t in a position to draft a decent quarterback. But it’s not like O’Brien (and the amazingly still-employed GM Rick Smith) haven’t been working on that god-awful, crappy situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick is history, now in a position to throw interception for the New York Jets. And in his place the Texans signed Brian Hoyer, a guy so awful as a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns last season that he lost his job to a soon-to-enter rehab Johnny Manziel. Hoyer joins Ryan Mallett, who was sufficiently sucky in two starts for the Texans last year, and Tom Savage, who just a big meh.

“We feel really good about our quarterback position,” O’Brien said after the first round of the draft when questioned about the team drafting defensive players to make up for the crappy quarterbacks. “To be honest with you, I’m a little tired of hearing that.”

O’Brien’s supposedly a quarterback guru. Kind of like Gary Kubiak was a supposed quarterback guru. O’Brien built his reputation off the arm (and deflated balls) of Tom Brady, kind of like Kubiak built his reputation off supposedly being the guru to John Elway and Steve Young. What that means is that O’Brien’s reputation as a quarterback guru is as likely unwarranted as Kubiak’s. And that means until he’s actually done something to produce a legitimate quarterback not named Tom Brady that he’s going to keep hearing about coaching a team with crappy quarterbacks though most Texans fans, because they’ve never dealt with a team not having a crappy quarterback at the helm of the team, will probably continue to willfully believe the whole guru status because, hey, he was Brady’s coach for one year.

But maybe Brady’s genius will rub off on the Texans, seeing as how both Mallett and Hoyer backed up Brady with the Patriots (so maybe they learned a little something on the proper handling of footballs, which, hopefully, might do something to cut back on team fumbles). Brady’s aura was enough to get O’Brien a genius reputation, so maybe that aura will rub off on Mallett and Hoyer and make them competent, though nothing that Mallett and Hoyer have shown in their few starts have indicated that any of the Brady aura has transferred to them.

“These guys are in here competing,” O’Brien said about his quarterbacks. “They’re learning. They’re doing a good job so far in the offseason workouts. We can’t wait to go out there and start working with them.”

It’s good that O’Brien’s excited and can’t wait, but frankly, I’m really tired of the Texans trotting out crappy QB after crappy QB season after season and trying to convince me that said guy’s the second coming of Peyton Manning. I’m tired of supposed quarterback gurus who made their reputation off of quarterbacks who were great way before being coached by the supposed guru seemingly having their statements that all is well accepted at face value by fans and media.

Maybe it will be different this season. Maybe the Texans won’t continue to make me regret their passing over Teddy Bridgewater. Maybe some legit quarterback guru will show up in Houston and turn Hoyer/Mallett/Savage into a legitimate NFL QB. But there’s just nothing in the history of the Texans that should give one any hint of optimism that the Texans quarterback situation is going to be anything other than mediocre. 
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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal