Falcon Points

Bill O'Brien keeps adding to his power, and the Texans are not likely to be better for it

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

In the wake of the Texans ugly loss to Kansas City, changes needed to be made. Head coach/GM/offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien needed to add some new voices. But did anyone really expect that to happen?

Instead, O'Brien began making moves to consolidate his power and help prevent anyone from questioning him.

Will the moves make the Texans better? Maybe, but based on O'Brien's history, they probably won't.


The departed

Romeo Crennel: The veteran defensive coordinator's contract was not renewed, which was hardly a surprise. Crennel seemed lost at times. Whether or not that was a lack of talent or the game had passed him by, it was time for a new voice. A veteran DC with a track record of success would have been a good step. More on that in a minute.

Chris Olsen: A behind-the-scenes, longtime member of the front office, Olsen had been with the Texans for 13 years and was roundly praised for his work on contracts and the salary cap. He also apparently had the "interim" general manager tag. His firing basically gives O'Brien yet more control over the front office.

John Pagano: The linebackers coach had experience as a defensive coordinator in the past. The linebackers were not the problem with the defense. More likely it is yet another spot where O'Brien wants his guys.

Rest assured, more moves will be coming. If they are anything like these, it will be to get more O'Brien puppets in the dope show.

The new DC

Anthony Weaver has been the Texans defensive line coach. He is highly regarded and he might do a good job. But he has no experience. O'Brien's past coordinator hires - with the exception of Crennel - have been abject failures. Even Mike Vrabel was a poor DC who went on to be a quality head coach. At some point, you have to give young, talented coaches a chance, and there is nothing wrong with that. But a veteran with a track record of success would have been a smart move. It might work out, but does anyone believe it will?

Past performance

As bad as the defense was, the other side of the ball has not been good enough, either. And that has been O'Brien's baby.

In his six years as head coach, the Texans offense has never been in the top ten in points or yards. The closest he came was 11th in points in 2018. Even with Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, the offense has been slightly better than league average at best. Yet he refuses to add new blood with new ideas. Why not tap into the KC pipeline? Or the Saints? Or anyone with a track record of success?

That would be admitting he is not doing a good enough job. Yet despite his track record of mediocrity, O'Brien has added more power each year. And here he goes again.

O'Brien the GM

He has had mixed results in the role. He paid a lot for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, but they were good pickups. However, if he can't re-sign Tunsil, the trade will be an abject failure. He also added Duke Johnson and Gareon Conley for third-round picks. Both were solid additions, and with the way the Texans draft in the third round, you could call those wins. The Carlos Hyde for Martinas Rankin deal was a win, picking up a 1,000-yard back for another failed third rounder.

But he overpaid on contracts for Nick Martin and Whitney Mercilus, two more of "his guys" who did not perform to the contracts they were given. Now, with Tunsil's extension looming, plus Watson's, a need to pay D.J. Reader plus Hyde and Bradley Roby hitting free agency, he dismisses his best cap guy?

Face of the franchise

O'Brien has made himself the be-all and end-all. His need to control the entire organization has led to poor decisions on the field. He has been an average offensive coordinator, a slightly above average head coach, and the jury is still out as a GM. But he has done nothing to show he can manage all three jobs effectively. Like it or not, he is now in control of everything. From his perspective, it means no more excuses. And by now, you have to wonder why adding more on his plate is warranted.

Future looks...mediocre

It really is a shame that a team with so many likable, easy to root for guys has chosen to make O'Brien the centerpiece of everything. Watson, Hopkins and J.J. Watt should be the centerpieces. Instead it is O'Brien who is the main man.

After six years, we know what he is. The team has reached its high point under O'Brien, and there is no reason to think things will be different moving forward. All Texans fan can hope for is that giving him more power takes them to another level. That has not worked for six years, so that's a hard sell.

But it is all that is left. O'Brien and his band of yes men taking even more control. Maybe it will work.

It sure hasn't so far.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome