BEREA, Ohio — More than a few present and former NFL coaches have a tree that branches off courtesy of former assistants who’ve gotten their shot to helm a franchise.

That’s not uncommon. Uncommon is when a player can do the same.

One such player is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who through virtue of his success and longevity soon will be able to claim to have two understudies in a starter’s role in the NFL. If you count Matt Cassel, now on the Minnesota Vikings’ injured reserve list, there are three.

Two of those former backups – the Cleveland Brown’s Brian Hoyer and the Houston Texans’ Ryan Mallett – will face each other Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.

However, they do so under entirely different circumstances. Hoyer leads a team with a 6-3 record, while Mallett will get his first start for the struggling Texans – losers of four of five – under first-year coach Bill O’Brien, who worked with both quarterbacks in New England in 2011.

Hoyer’s first career start with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012 proved to be a rushed affair with his only having been with the Cards for two weeks.

“I was just trying to figure out what the offense was, but you know what the opportunity is,” Hoyer said Wednesday. “Regardless of the situation, if you get a chance to start a game in the National Football League at quarterback, you want to make the most of it. Just like I did that week – put as much time as you can into it – I’m sure he’s doing the same.”

O’Brien is giving Mallett his shot the way that many thought it would unfold for the Browns’ Johnny Manziel – coming back from a bye week after the starter fizzled out, giving him time to get used to his new role.

Mallet will start in place of the struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“I don’t think it was a matter of just pointing the finger at Ryan Fitzpatrick and saying that it was all his fault,” O’Brien said during a conference call Wednesday. “I think it was more about the fact that we felt that Ryan Mallett was ready and that he could give us a good chance to win and that the guys around him needed to play better.”

TEXANS: Running back Arian Foster will miss Sunday’s game with a groin injury.

Foster missed practice this week with the injury and was listed as questionable on Friday before the Texans announced that he was out on Saturday.

Foster, who is second in the NFL with 822 yards rushing, was injured Nov. 2 against the Eagles before Houston’s bye week. This will be the second game he’s missed this season after sitting out in Week 3 with a hamstring injury.

With Foster out, rookie Alfred Blue will start.

GIANTS: New York placed running back Peyton Hillis on injured reserve with a concussion.

The Giants announced the move Saturday, and signed linebacker Justin Anderson off their practice squad.

It’s the second straight season Hillis has been sidelined by a concussion. He was hurt in a loss to Seattle on Sunday.

The Giants, who will play San Francisco on Sunday, signed running back Orleans Darkwa earlier this week. Leading rusher Rashad Jennings is expected back after missing four games with a knee injury.

TITANS: Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker has cleared enough of the concussion protocol that he returned to practice Saturday in a limited fashion.

Now he must be checked by an independent neurologist before he can play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

CHIEFS: A person familiar with the situation said Kansas City has signed defensive end Allen Bailey to a four-year, $25 million contract extension.

Bailey is guaranteed $15 million and will receive a $10 million signing bonus, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The 25-year-old Bailey has had a breakout season for the Chiefs, starting all nine games and establishing a career-high with four sacks.