"They both have the quality of leadership; they both have the quality of intelligence," O'Brien said Thursday, per the team's official website. "So, it's an even battle. And like I said, we'll make a decision at some point. We'll go with one guy to start the season. That other guy needs to be ready to play. We played four quarterbacks last year, so you just never know but we can only play one at a time. So, we'll pick one eventually and go with that guy."
By all appearances, Hoyer is the front-runner, despite O'Brien's insistence otherwise. Watching the back-and-forth between the staff and Mallett on Hard Knocks, it's hard not to view the Texans being more comfortable with Hoyer at this stage.
Still, O'Brien understands Mallett has better physical tools and wants to give him another chance to impress.
"If I had the body of knowledge right now, I would probably make the decision," O'Brien said. "I need to see a little bit more and I want to give Ryan a chance to start a game, and put some more thought into it. Then make a decision at some point whether it's next week or the week after. At some point, we'll make a decision."
That some point needs to be soon, with the preseason Week 3 dress rehearsal sliding into view.