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Mallett on Texans' QB fight: 'Are you counting me out?'

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Fifteen-hundred miles away from Buffalo's hyper-underwhelming quarterback battle, the Houston Texans are sorting through the rubble of their own under-center tussle.

The fight between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett got underway in earnest on Saturday, with Hoyer taking the opening rash of first-team reps with the Texans' offense, per multiple reports. Mallett worked later in the session, but coach Bill O'Brien insisted after the team's first camp practice that neither passer held an edge, per ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli.

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O'Brien also offered no timeline for picking his No. 1 arm, which makes plenty of sense. We need to see both in game action, especially considering how inconsistent Hoyer and Mallett have been during their limited pro starts.

Hoyer was "on and off" during Saturday's snaps, according to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle, but Ganguli noted that the former Browns starter looked "very sharp on shorter throws." Hoyer tossed a pair of touchdown passes during 7-on-7 work but also unfurled a pick to safety Stevie Brown.

Mallett entered to throw three straight incompletions in goal-line drills and bristled when asked by a reporter if the quarterback duel was still up for grabs, asking, per Smith: "Are you counting me out?"

"I trust Bill O'Brien with my career, so I feel like I'm going to get a fair shot," Mallett said, per Smith, reflecting on last year's pair of starts to say: "Those two games, it was just kind of like a little taste. But I really -- I want more."

He'll get his wish unless Hoyer evolves into a quarterback ready to rip the doors off for all 16 games. Both of these players remain highly inconsistent performers, meaning both are likely to makes starts for a Texans squad still looking for a long-term answer under center.

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