The Houston Texans will have a new starting quarterback when they face the Cleveland Browns after their bye week. Head coach Bill O'Brien announced Wednesday that Ryan Mallett will be under center in Week 11, sending Ryan Fitzpatrick to the bench. O'Brien emphasized that he thinks this is the "best interest of the team," saying he believes it's what the Texans need to turn things around.
This move is no surprise, as it had been expected for weeks given Fitzpatrick's inconsistent play and O'Brien's familiarity with Mallett. The two worked together in 2011 when Mallet was a backup to Tom Brady and O'Brien was the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator. The Texans traded for Mallett in August and now turn to him to be the team's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Fitzpatrick signed a two-year deal with the Texans this offseason, essentially becoming the team's No. 1 quarterback in the wake of Matt Schaub's struggles last year. Fitzpatrick has failed to deliver as the starter this season, however, ranking 27th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks in Total QBR (45.3) while leading the Texans to a 4-5 record. He obviously did not agree with the decision:
Fitz "I didn't like it. I don't agree with it, but I've been in both sides of this situation. Now It's all bout being good teammate."— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 5, 2014
Mallett was a third-round draft choice by the Patriots in 2011 and has appeared in just five games over the last four seasons, completing 1 of 4 passes for 25 yards with an interception. He'll get his first career NFL start on Nov. 16 against the Browns, and is excited about the opportunity:
Mallett "I didn't know if I'd ever get this chance but it's finally come. I hope to take advantage of it."— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 5, 2014