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Texans should have stuck with Brian Hoyer, coach says

CINCINNATI -- Houston coach Bill O'Brien told his team that he mishandled the Texans' quarterback situation, sources told ESPN.

During a bye week team meeting, O'Brien said he made a mistake in benching quarterback Brian Hoyer for Ryan Mallett after the Texans' Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Houston Chronicle first reported O'Brien's comments.

Hoyer won the starting job after a prolonged training camp competition but was benched during the fourth quarter against the Chiefs. He became the Texans' starter again in Week 6, backed up by Mallett until he was cut following a rash of tardiness the day before the Texans faced the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.

Since recovering his role as starting quarterback, Hoyer has thrown eight touchdowns and one interception. He has had a 97.3 passer rating and a 72.3 Total QBR while the Texans (3-5) have gone 2-1 during that span.

"Because of the ability now to get all the reps, which he's able to get most of the reps in practice, you see much better chemistry between him and the receivers with the offensive line, with the running game, with how the plays are called, all the different things that go into that," O'Brien said during a news conference last week. "I think that that's what you see the most. He's got confidence, he's gone in there, and for the most part, he's played good football."

O'Brien had told Hoyer and Mallett that the competition was close and the starter could change during the season. A few days later, Mallett missed a practice and told the team it was because he overslept.

Hoyer's first pass with the Texans was intercepted by Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. Hoyer was also sacked four times before O'Brien pulled him for Mallett with 6 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the game. The Texans scored 11 points with Mallett at the helm. After the game, O'Brien said he didn't know who his starting quarterback was. Three days later, he chose Mallett to replace Hoyer.

Mallett started four games, going 1-3 while completing 52.2 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

During the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, with the Texans trailing 13-0, Mallett lost his breath after a hard hit and left the game. He was ready to return one play later, but O'Brien kept Hoyer in the game. Mallett fumed on the sideline while Hoyer threw two touchdown passes and led two field goal drives.

O'Brien hesitated to commit fully to Hoyer until the Texans' Week 7 game against the Dolphins.

The day before that game, Mallett was late for meetings in Houston and for the team's charter flight. Mallett blamed traffic and booked a commercial flight to meet the team. He was late a third time that day, for a meeting at the team hotel in South Florida.

The Texans, who traded for Mallett in August 2014, released him two days after the Texans' 44-26 loss to the Dolphins. They then signed T.J. Yates to back up Hoyer.