COACHING DECISIONS

Bill O'Brien: The Kool Aid guide to his coaching

Bill O' Brien might have something up his sleeve. Houstontexans.com

As the leaves change colors and degrees begin to drop, the Texans sit atop the AFC South in a three way tie for first place. While the team is by no means imploding, a rocky 0-3 start coupled with close games being lost at least in part due to questionable play calling has fifth-year head coach Bill O' Brien feeling the heat from fans.

Although most Houstonians are ready for a change at the helm, here are three rationalizations if you want to retain some B.o.B. hope:

Kool-Aid Glass  #1- Teams often play down to terrible teams, and no one knows that better then Billy-O.

We see this every year, a team that’s steamrolling its way through its schedule finds itself in a close game against a rag-tag bunch of inferior players stealing pay-checks from their owner.  Sometimes that group of supposed professionals even rips a win from the better team (Remember the Bills’ out-of-nowhere win against the Vikings earlier this year?). Bill O’Brien could be capitalizing on this inexplicable phenomenon, calling a flurry of seemingly ill-conceived plays until the opposing sideline lets their guard down and starts calling terrible plays of their own.

Just look at the Colts game in Week 4, a risky overtime play call leads to the Colts turning the ball over on 4th down on their own 43. Do you think a Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator makes that same call against a team coached by Mike Tomlin or Sean Payton? Not a chance. But when you’re playing against a badly coached turd burger, you start thinking to yourself “So what if we turn the ball over on downs, there’s no way these idiots have enough time to capitalize on it.” And that’s where B.o.B. thrives, making teams think themselves out of certain victory.

Kool Aid Glass #2 Bill O’Brien’s Texans are playing some of the ugliest football ever in order to dissuade opposing coaches from watching his game tape.

This theory is so plausible it really shouldn’t even be considered a rationalization. You ever watch a team try to get the ball in the end zone from inside the 5 to no avail? It’s gruesome. Now imagine watching that over the course of three or four downs, and then repeat that whole thing several more times. In that moment, if someone offered you a Season 3 DVD of The Jersey Shore, you would probably hit “play” just to cleanse your visual palette. It’s a simple concept, teams can’t prepare well for you if they don't watch tape, and they cant watch tape if it makes them want to throw up every 10 minutes.

Kool Aid Glass #3 Bill O’Brien makes a percentage of Texans merchandise sales, and is setting his young core up for maximum exposure.

This is a full-on Alex Jones-style conspiracy theory, but if you’ve read this far it can’t be that much more of a leap in logic. Bill O’ Brien could be making some cheddar off jersey sales, and perhaps is positioning the team to see its highest volume of television views in order to maximize his players visibility.

Now, the best way to do this would be to make a deep run in the playoffs and capture postseason media glory for your squad. But what is one to do if a playoff run isn’t in the cards, and even a playoff berth is a longshot? Well, you do the next best thing. You try to play overtime games as often as possible.

Already the Texans have played two OT games. However, take a closer look at the four games that ended in regulation. There could have been even more OT games! Most notably the Bills game, which was forecast as an exciting battle of field goal kickers, narrowly missed going to overtime because of a last minute pick-six. And that’s despite B.o.B. doing everything possible to preserve a tie. In fact every game this season has been won or lost by one touchdown or less! Either Billy-o is interested in becoming a lock to cover the spread, or he knows if you play six OT games, that’s one full game of bonus TV time.

 

 

 

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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