Every-Thing Sports

A realistic exit for Bill O'Brien

Texans Bill O'Brien, Deshaun Watson, Cal McNair
Composite photo by Brandon Strange

We're living in a crazy time. COVID-19 has shaken the world to its core. Jobs are on the line as the economy continues to suffer. So last week, I made my appeal to replace Bill O'Brien. I haven't been contacted as of this writing, so I'll assume they're not ready for me...yet. I won't give up hope at the moment, and neither should Texans fans.

With all of the shenanigans this guy has pulled off and the power he has amassed, there's still reason for hope. As bleak as things may seem now, I do see a series of events that can lead to O'Brien's exit. This is a case of things getting worse in order for them to get better. Just as a we're going through hard times right now, things will get better. Sometimes you have to take a few steps backwards in order to move forwards. Here's how I see it going:

Another early playoff exit

With a seventh team eligible to make the playoffs this year, it's likely the Texans will make the new expanded field. Nothing will change as they will be out in the first round and in typical embarrassing passion. The fans will see this coming all season and voice their displeasure at the turnstiles and merch sales. The McNairs will feel this displeasure monetarily and will start to get squeamish.

Contract extension troubles

We've already heard Laremy Tunsil turn down a reported $18.5 million dollar per year average deal in hopes of landing something in the $20 million dollar range. Deshaun Watson will look to set the new bar at quarterback which will exceed $35-40 million dollars a year. You know those memes that say start one, bench one cut one? Who do they franchise if neither takes the extensions offered? Do you give in to Tunsil's demands because of the price you paid? You have to at this point. Do you do the same with Watson? You'd be stupid not to. Trading them would be disastrous as we've seen how O'Brien does in that department. His seat is considerably hotter.

A 2021 flameout 

Following a second offseason without a first round pick and cap space tied up in guys he failed to sign to extensions in a reasonable amount of time, O'Brien starts the 2021 season 3-7. Fan atendance is at an all-time low. Most season ticket holders are selling their tickets to opposing team fans. Home games look more and more like road games every week. Heading into the bye week, The McNairs pull the trigger midseason and relieve him of all his duties in an attempt to get ahead of the hiring curve. This now gives them a chance to hit reset button, but with major pieces in place.

Who steers the ship now?

With Watson still under contract, a first round pick for the first time in two years, and a fresh start on the football side of the organization, who gets to steer the ship? Hopefully, the rest of the football world continues to sleep on Eric Bienemy and he can be the Yoda to Watson's Luke. If not, I think there are several other candidates out there who'd sell their mother for a chance to work with Watson. The general manager hire would be easy as well considering he'd have a high enough first round pick and some talent already in place. The cap space will be messed up because of what they're paying Watson and Tunsil, but I'm sure one of these bright minds could find a way to figure something out. Things are looking up now.

Like I stated previously, sometimes you hvae to go through hard times in order to get to the bright side. We see this with the quarantine and/or stay in place orders. We have to suffer some setbacks to make major comebacks. I see nothing different about the Texans organization. This too shall pass. Bill O'Brien isn't long for Houston. The only way he survives is if he does the impossible and manages to win a Super Bowl or finds his way into winning and winning big over the next few years with the rag tag roster he's out together. I'd rather have someone cough on me right now than to stay in place for the next three months. I'd rather suffer through a couple bad seasons than see him win here. Yes. I said it.

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Following Houston's 6-4 road trip, the Astros returned home to finish the first "half" of the season before the All Star break hosting Florida and Texas. Houston's road trip was filled with clutch performances in New York, dominance in taking 3 of 4 in Toronto, and a dose of close calls and tough realities with a short-handed team against Minnesota.

Now the Astros hope to take care of business against the lowly Marlins and division rival Rangers. The Texas series, in particular gives Houston the opportunity to reassert their hold on the #2 spot ahead of the Rangers who have won their last 5 games in a row (as of the time this was published). Both teams have won 7 of their last 10 games and hope to catch a free-falling Seattle team to overtake the division lead.

Dana Brown told the media last week he expects both Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker to be reactivated following the All-Star break but Tucker's updates continue to be more promising than Verlander's and MUCH more promising than Lance McCullers. Astros manager informed the media this week that McCullers has been shut down from throwing after his arm did not respond well to his recent bullpen sessions and the team is formulating the plan for what's next for the embattled pitcher. McCullers hasn't pitched since the 2022 postseason and underwent season-ending flexor tendon surgery last June. McCullers is under contract with Houston until 2026.

An eventual return for Kyle Tucker would spur a juggling act from Joe Espada to find a proper balance of time for all his outfielders, none of which have separated themselves offensively. Chas McCormick had a great month of June recording an .804 OPS but that run looks more like an anomaly as his scuffles have continued over the past 2.5 weeks, recording just 4 hits over his last 32 plate appearances.

While Jake Meyers has wowed fans and teammates with his glove this season, his offense has hit a skid, hitting just .184 with a .565 OPS over the past month. After rookie Joey Loperfido's torrid debut, he too has struggled with the bat, hitting just .216 with .599 OPS over the same time period.

An unexpected bright spot has been the recent play of first baseman Jon Singleton. Over the last 4 weeks, "Big Jon" is batting .302 with an .802 OPS. It's worth mentioning that Singleton's season numbers are better than Florida's Josh Bell, who drew interest from Astros fans over the past several seasons as a potential answer at first base. Bell has 135 more ABs this season so its not quite an apples-to-apples comparison but there's no doubt Singleton's contributions were sorely needed following the release of Jose Abreu.

To watch part 1 of this week's episode of Stone Cold StrosStone Cold Stros, just click the video above or to listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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