HOUSTON (AP) — Ryan Mallett will start at quarterback for the Houston Texans on Sunday at Carolina, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Brian Hoyer started the season-opener, but had two turnovers early and was benched in the fourth quarter. Mallett took over and led the Texans on two scoring drives in the last six minutes of the 27-20 loss to Kansas City. He will start against the Panthers, according to the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team is not expected to disclose its starting quarterback until game day. The NFL Network first reported the Mallett decision.
Hoyer was signed in the offseason after starting for the Browns last year and beat Mallett for the job in training camp.
Coach Bill O’Brien said on Monday that he knew who the quarterback would be, but that he wouldn’t share that information before the game. He repeated the sentiment on Wednesday.
"Quarterback, you guys will find out on Sunday," he said. "It’ll be a decision again that’s in the best interest of the team."
Mallett and Hoyer both spoke on Wednesday before news of the decision broke, and neither gave any indication of who would start. Mallett spoke about how he was able to jump into the game late and help the team cut the deficit.
"I felt good," he said of Sunday’s game. "Like I said after the game, it’s about preparation. I get my confidence from how well I prepare and it’s going to be the same this week — prepare for whichever way we go. You know what I mean? Prepare like a starter regardless."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera was asked about the difference in preparing for the two quarterbacks and indicated that he finds their abilities comparable.
"In this situation it’s not like you have Tom Brady on one side and another quarterback somewhere else. Or Peyton Manning or someone else," he said. "We’re talking about two young quarterbacks that have very similar skill sets. One is more mobile (Hoyer) than the other, and the other (Mallett) has a stronger arm."