The Houston Texans defense has been one of the more impressive and surprising units in the NFL this season. Despite losing top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney after the first game, the team still ranks 11th in the NFL in points allowed, and has a league-high 21 takeaways with three defensive touchdowns. Unfortunately, the offense has not been able to keep up with the big-plays of the defense.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has done nothing to strike fear into opposing defenses despite the litany of weapons around him. With two excellent receivers in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, as well as Arian Foster who is second in rushing yards in the NFL, Fitzpatrick has struggled to have a major impact, throwing for only 11 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
Now at the halfway point of the season, head coach Bill O’Brien has decided it is time for a change, naming Ryan Mallett the starter at quarterback according HoustonTexans.com:
I just felt like in the best interest of the team,” O’Brien said. “This is the decision I needed to make.”
The move should come as no surprise. Fitzpatick has done nothing spectacular and the Texans gave up a draft pick to get Mallett who worked with O’Brien when the two were in New England together.
Mallett spent a number of years behind Tom Brady, and at one time in his college career, was a major NFL prospect with first-round potential. This is his first real chance to be a starter in the NFL and he will definitely be looking to make a statement.
The AFC is very deep with a number of teams jostling for playoff position already. At 4-5 the Texans have to make a run immediately if they plan on returning to the playoffs this season.