The notion that one of the candidates for the starting quarterback job with the Texans would play himself out of the running this early has turned out to be a little far-fetched.

Both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett have impressed Bill O'Brien, who is now hedging on his earlier claim that he might name a starter soon. He might be forced to wait beyond the beginning of training camp.

"These two guys are competing really well; they're very bright guys," O'Brien told the team website. "I think they've both had really good springs. ... [The starter] might be named next week. He might be named after the Redskins three days of practice. It might be after the San Francisco preseason game."

Without pads or contact drills, the evaluation process at quarterback is more difficult. O'Brien must rely on other qualities, such as grasping concepts at meetings, practice performance, leadership qualities, picking up the offense and decision-making. So far, it appears to be a dead-heat.

"I don't think there's a situation here where one guy has just been that much better on any given day than the other guy," O'Brien said. "They both practice very well. These guys command at the line of scrimmage. Both these guys know how to run an offensive huddle in pro football. They're leaders, so I think it's helped our team."

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