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Bill O'Brien: Ryan Fitzpatrick 'is our quarterback'


Bill O'Brien doesn't sound like a coach prepared to remove Ryan Fitzpatrick from under center any time soon.

The first-year coach has been riding with the journeyman quarterback through a 3-4 record so far, but thinks his team's performance is not the reflection of one position playing poorly.

"Fitzy is our quarterback," O'Brien told reporters on Tuesday.

He added: "When you look at our tape ... you cannot just point to one position and say that's the position that is at fault. There are a lot of positions that need to play better. We need to coach better, all those different things. It all goes into why sometimes we stall offensively. It's not one guy."

On one hand, he's right. Fitzpatrick has both of his big-play targets Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins among the league's top 15 wide receivers in terms of yardage -- this despite being set up as a run-first offense.

On the other, Houston has lost three consecutive games in what is clearly a transitional season. Fitzpatrick is also tied for third in the NFL with seven interceptions, but has just eight touchdowns to balance it out.

What was the point of that Ryan Mallett trade, if not to spark the offense when the Texans needed it most? The team's upcoming stretch, includes manageable games against the Titans (twice), Browns, Bengals and Jaguars. If that doesn't strengthen Fitzpatrick's resume, it might be time to find out if Mallett is worthwhile to keep around.

"We're going to continue to work with both of these guys in practice, and we’ll see how it improves," O'Brien said. "And hopefully, it will get better and better, and that will help our offense get better."

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