NFL Wire News

Texans in no hurry to name starting QB


The Sports Xchange

HOUSTON — Only next week’s three-day minicamp remains in the Houston Texans’ offseason program. But Texans head coach Bill O’Brien still is not ready to name a starting quarterback. Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer have competed through the first three phases, including 10 OTAs.

“Both guys have shown us they can be the starter,” O’Brien said. “They’re competing really well. They’ve had really good springs. Whoever ends up being the starter is going to do a good job for our team.”

O’Brien is in no hurry to name the starter, insisting the decision could come after joint practices with Washington or even after the preseason opener against San Francisco.

“I’m not ready yet to name (starter),” O’Brien said. “We’ve got a good bunch of guys in that locker room. And I think they understand these two quarterbacks are really doing a good job on the practice field, and when the timing is right, we’ll make a decision.”

O’Brien doesn’t think Mallett or Hoyer can do anything spectacular enough in the minicamp to get him to select the starter after it ends Thursday.

“That would be tough,” he said. “I don’t see either guy right now going out there and just totally separating himself from the other guy.”

–The Texans have hoped Jadeveon Clowney will be ready for Week 1 since the 2015 offseason began. But whenever the team clears the second-year linebacker for football action, the Texans plan to replicate their 2014 handling of the No. 1 overall pick.

Clowney will be brought along slowly and initially won’t be asked to carry a heavy load. The Texans have “high expectations” for the defender this season, as he recovers from microfracture surgery on his knee. But he’ll have to earn his playing time, then gradually return to full speed on the field.

“The smart thing would be not to put him in there for 80 plays a game. We’re not going to rush him back and if he does come back and earn playing time, all of a sudden play him 75 plays in a game,” head coach Bill O’Brien said Friday. “We’d have to be very smart about how much we played him early on.”

–Linebacker Brian Cushing may be returning to the No. 56 of old. O’Brien praised the six-year veteran, saying Cushing impressed and stood out during OTAs.

“He’s come back and he’s had a hell of an offseason,” O’Brien said. “I mean, he’s moving well. He made a play (Friday) out there in a two-minute drill on a 20-yard pass, where he got back in coverage and he tipped the ball away and that was a big play. It was good for me to see that. He felt good about making that play.”

Cushing recorded 72 combined tackles in 14 starts last season, but he was rarely himself while recovering from back-to-back season-ending knee injuries. A season removed from his comeback year, Cushing said he’s finally approaching his 2011 form.

“I feel great,” Cushing said. “I can tell you that and mean it. I’ve said it before and not meant it. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time.”

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