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Houston Texans begin minicamp with Hoyer and Mallett competing to start at QB

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HOUSTON — Houston coach Bill O'Brien wasn't ready to say who will start at quarterback as the team started a mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.

He did however discuss the most important factor that will go into his decision whether to go with Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer.

"The most consistent guy," he said. "The guy that makes the most consistent, correct decisions, consistently completes the ball to the right guy, and gets us into the right play."

Mallett re-signed with the Texans this offseason after joining the team during training camp last year in a trade with New England. He was a third-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2011, but appeared in just four games there as Tom Brady's backup.

Mallett made the first two starts of his career last year after the Texans benched Ryan Fitzpatrick. But he tore a pectoral muscle and missed the rest of the season.

Hoyer, who started 13 games for Cleveland last season, signed with Houston in the offseason, forcing Mallett to compete to keep his job.

Each quarterback has gotten time with the first team in offseason practices as O'Brien, who is entering his second year with the team, evaluates them.

"We mix and match those guys," O'Brien said. "We're looking at a lot of different guys at different positions. (Tuesday), you saw some younger players in there with Hoyer and Mallett. You saw some different offensive lines in there, just trying to look at the versatility of some of those guys."

O'Brien hasn't said when he plans to make a decision on a starter, but he isn't likely to let the competition stretch too far into training camp.

"We've got a good bunch of guys in that locker room that are competing together," O'Brien said. "I think they understand that these two quarterbacks are really doing a good job on the practice field and when the timing is right we will make a decision."

Hoyer, who threw for 3,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season, said he doesn't let the uncertainty of whether he'll start bother him.

"At this time of the year it's a learning, teaching time and for me being the new guy in the system, that's what I'm trying to do right now," Hoyer said. "I have a lot of trust in Bill and whenever he makes the decision, that's up to him."

Mallett has recovered from the surgery to repair his torn pectoral muscle and is feeling good. He doesn't worry about how Hoyer is performing, instead choosing to focus on himself.

"What's up to me is how I do my job," he said. "I compete with myself every day. I try to get better every day and correct the things that I didn't do well the day before or maybe that week."

The Texans moved up their practice by two hours on Tuesday morning because of the threat of heavy rain from Tropical Storm Bill, which made landfall about 150 miles from Houston about noon on Tuesday.

"When I looked at the radar, it looked like this thing was coming pretty quickly, so I felt like we needed to get good work in," O'Brien said. "I want them to get home in case the rain really hits us, so they're home and not having to drive through a potential flood and things like that."

He said he expects practice be on schedule on Wednesday, but warned players to look out for messages from the team in case conditions worsened overnight and they needed to change the time again.

The team practiced in its indoor training facility on Tuesday as light to heavy rain fell outside.

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