Ryan Fitzpatrick handled it like a professional.
The decision to start backup quarterback Ryan Mallett in favor of the ten-year veteran, who started nine games this season, wasn't an easy one for head coach Bill O'Brien.
It also wasn't easy on Fitzpatrick, who found out Wednesday morning. O'Brien told Fitzpatrick and the quarterbacks before the team took four days off for the bye week.
"I didn't like it," Fitzpatrick said. "I don't really agree with it but I respect the hell out of Coach O'Brien as a coach. It's a hard thing, especially with me at this point in my career, it's a hard thing to have to sit and have to take a backseat."
The likeable Fitzpatrick, who inspired teammates and made them laugh, now draws on his decade of NFL experience. He often sits with Tom Savage and watches the rookie's scout team reps when coaches may not have the time. He'll offer the same support system for Mallett in his starting role.
"I've been in this situation on both sides of it multiple times," Fitzpatrick said. "I draw from past experiences a lot and getting put on the bench is never a great thing but I've had experiences where I was the guy in Ryan's shoes, the guy that was coming in; I was coming in and the other guy got benched. The way that my experience went there, the quarterback position is such a hard position to play in this league and it's really hard when you don't have a good support system around you."
Through nine games this season, Fitzpatrick completed 61.8 percent of passes for 1,960 yards, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He was also sacked 20 times for 83 yards. Fitzpatrick accumulated one rushing touchdown and 143 yards on the ground, many of which he got by sliding headfirst to extend plays.
Now he'll have to sit on the sideline and watch. He needed to play with more consistency and a poor outing against Philadelphia didn't help either, according to Fitzpatrick.
"Probably the toughest pill to swallow is I'm a competitor," Fitzpatrick said. "The other aspect of it, too, is having someone like Coach O'Brien bring me in and me not meeting the expectations of what he wanted for me," Fitzpatrick said. "The fact that (I) feel like that I let him down a little bit maybe in that regard. That's tough to sit here with and knowing that I put in all the work and will continue to put in all the work necessary to be a good player in the league. I guess that's how you can go home at night and put your head on the pillow."
The Texans, who have a bye on Sunday, will travel to Cleveland in Week 11 to face the Browns on November 16.