JOEL BLANK

At 0-3, Texans have little hope for turnaround under O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is not going anywhere. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

I'm sorry Texans fans but at 0-3, your season is all but over. Only five teams since 1980 have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3 and the way that team looked yesterday, there is little hope they will be number six. The team looks to be in disarray on defense and cannot stop anyone regardless of how many superstars and talented players they have on the field.  The offense is mediocre at best and overall, we can all see that the coaching staff seems to be outmatched.

I'm sorry to also have to tell you that Bill O’Brien isn’t going anywhere. They had an opportunity several months ago to let him play out the final year of his deal and see the results. He was heavily involved in the process of hiring a new general manager and Brian Gaine seem to be his guy, hand picked as the successor to Rick Smith. It would have been a wise decision by the organization to let these two gentlemen work together for a year before rewarding the head coach with a new contract.

However that's not how the Bob McNair decided to handle things. Instead, O'Brien got a hefty raise and a four-year extension, much to the surprise of many. The fact is, he isn't going anywhere.  There is no way that the organization and its ownership are going to pay a coach for four more years to walk away and do nothing. Dead cap money is bad, free coach money is just as painful, just without the salary cap ramifications. Absorbing all four years of a newly inked extension is not smart business, even if it makes perfect football sense. So get used to Billy O. being around for at least a little while longer and start thinking of how else the team can get better, without removing the man in charge.

For starters, how about forcing McNair to hire an offensive coordinator? Normally when someone in the business world holds more than one title it's because they are a great multitasker and have mastered their original position with the organization. We all know that O'Brien is both the Head Coach and the Offensive Coordinator for the Houston Texans, but no one will stand up and say that he has mastered either of those positions. If he turns over the offensive playcalling to someone else, he can focus on his coaching duties and the things that he has been negligent in. Things like clock management, knowing when to throw the challenge flag and of course, when to call a timeout for starters.

For a team and its fan base that was forced to admit that six games was too small of a sample size when selecting their quarterback of the future in free agency with Brock Osweiler, it's a shame to have to say that that same amount of games was also too small of a sample size to judge the offensive chemistry, play calling and statistical results of O'Brien calling plays for Deshawn Watson.

Where is the offense that we saw in those six games? Where are the results? All the yards and points and most importantly, the wins? What happened to all of the misdirection and motion and getting the quarterback out of the pocket where he has more room to operate? The offense this year is a microcosm of the team's record— unacceptable and disappointing. If O' Brien isn't leaving, why not force him to hire an offensive coordinator that can maximize Watson and his weapons, while not being quite as predictable or vanilla? The masquerade is over; O'Brien is not the offensive guru or the quarteback whisperer that everyone heard he was supposed to be when he was hired here.

Finally, remember how being a disciple of the Bill Belichek coaching tree was looked at as a huge positive? Al Groh is the only branch of the tree with a record over .500 and he was 9-7 in his only season as an NFL head coach. Everyone else has had more losses than wins and that includes Josh McDaniels (11-17), Eric Mangini (33-47), Romeo Crennel (28-45) and O'Brien now at (31-36). Take that information and then start thinking about the success of other head coaches hired after Bill got to the Bayou City. Coaches that have accomplished far more, in significantly less time. Names like Sean McDermott, who took the Bills to the playoffs in his first year at the helm, as did Sean McVay with the Rams as his squad went from worst to first. Doug Pederson did them one better, as he won the Super Bowl in his second season in charge. There are others like Dan Quinn in Atlanta, Doug Marrone in Jacksonville and Mike Zimmer with the Vikings just to name a few. In summary, McNair did what he didn’t have to do, extended a coach who had no track record that warranted it and now must hope and pray that the coaching fairy comes to H-town and somehow straightens out the ridiculous mess that is your Houston Texans.

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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