Ryan Mallett will be starting in a game that counts for the first time since the 2011 Sugar Bowl where he led the Arkansas Razorbacks against Ohio State in New Orleans. Fast forward three-plus years, and Mallett is looking to prove himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL as he makes his debut for the Houston Texans Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Mallet, a third-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2011, was expected to have the stuff to be a starting quarterback in the NFL coming out of college, however as Tom Brady’s backup, the former Razorback never saw his chance, until now with Houston.
To prep for the new role, Mallett spent his bye week at the Texans’ facilities getting ready to take on the Browns.
"I was here myself," Mallett told HoustonTexans.com about his bye week. "A lot of film study. Worked out a little bit, but a lot of film study. Just trying to get ready for these guys and they’ve got a good team. Their 6-3 and we’ve got to execute to have a chance."
Spending three seasons behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Brady, Mallett believes the key to success is communication with his teammates.
"We just have to communicate," Mallett said. "See everything through the same set up eyes and make sure everybody is seeing everything the same way for us to be successful."
With Mallett ready to take the field, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien expressed his excitement after making the change at quarterback from Ryan Fitzpatrick after the team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9.
"I’m excited for him," O’Brien said. "I think this is his opportunity to go out there and lead this team, and he’s excited."
Veteran receiver Andre Johnson expressed that the offense as a whole has to step up its game, and a change at quarterback isn’t the entire answer to the Texans’ offensive woes this season.
"We all have to play a part in it," Johnson said. "It’s not just him. Whoever is at quarterback, it doesn’t matter. We all have to go out and do our jobs."
The Texans head to Cleveland to face a team that is 6-3 and in first place in the tough AFC North, meaning Houston has to be at it’s best if they are going to leave with the win Sunday.
"We’ve got to be prepared for everything," Mallett said. "Whatever they throw at us, we’re going to have to communicate and get handled."