Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - New Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien kicked off an eventful first day of the team's mandatory minicamp by tabbing Ryan Fitzpatrick as his starting quarterback.
Fitzpatrick, Houston's most experienced option under center with 77 career starts under his belt, didn't have his No. 1 receiver to throw do as he took snaps on Tuesday, however, Andre Johnson was not present as the Texans began workouts as the Pro Bowl wideout continues his offseason battle with the team.
Johnson's absence was not a surprise, as he also skipped the Texans' voluntary spring workouts while publicly questioning his role with the organization. Turning 33 in July and entering his 12th NFL season, the seven-time Pro Bowl selection is believed to be angling for a trade to a contender and unwilling to be part of another rebuilding process in Houston.
O'Brien's decision to elevate Fitzpatrick to the starter's role was also expected. After trading Matt Schaub to Oakland in March, the Texans didn't take a quarterback in this year's NFL draft until choosing Pittsburgh's Tom Savage in the fourth round.
"He earned it with his preparation," O'Brien said of Fitzpatrick. "He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command at the line of scrimmage."
Fitzpatrick started nine games in place of an injured Jake Locker while with Tennessee last season and threw for 2,454 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over 11 contests overall. The 10th-year veteran was released by the Titans in March, then quickly signed to a two-year contract by the Texans.