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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Laremy Tunsil's absence is something to note after missing time last season. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Texans took to the field for OTA practice on Wednesday. Here are 11 observations from the practice.

1. Derek Stingley doesn't take full reps yet. Stingley is working up to full reps after last year's injury-plagued college season. Lovie Smith said the plan is to work to get Stingley, as well as other rookies, up to full reps in practice.

2. Despite not having full reps, it doesn't mean the third overall pick can't impress. Stingley did well in the drills with other defensive backs showcasing his agility and quickness. During one of the team drills, Stingley effortlessly matched step for step with Chris Conley on a play that finished on the other side of the field. It was also surprising to see Stingley working on punt returns as well.

3. It is just shorts and helmets so not much can be gleaned from the team's other first-round pick Kenyon Green. Green worked at left guard with a variety of other offensive linemen. Lovie Smith made it clear there are currently no first, second, or third teams for the Texans. Green's pre-season analysis will pick up when training camp and pads roll around.

4. Max Scharping looks to be in phenomenal shape. The former second-round pick has been a disappointment in his time with the Texans. Scharping enters a year when he will need to battle to remain on the roster. It seems the delicacy of his roster spot led to an incredible offseason for Scharping.

5. Laremy Tunsil and Maliek Collins are two veterans who are not at the optional team activities. Lovie Smith detailed he has spoken to any player who isn't here and understands this is indeed optional.

6. With Laremy Tunsil missing, Charlie Heck saw snaps at left tackle. The team's right tackle for the majority of last year looks, like the above-mentioned Scharping, to be in great shape. He was moving well on a few of the plays which required the line to get out and block.

7. Roy Lopez, who was a surprise contributor last year, had what would have been a great play in a full-speed game situation. Lopez darted past the offensive line sniffing out a reverse and tapped the receiver as he went by. It would've been a 10-yard loss and a smushed wideout in a live game.

8. Nico Collins had a few nice plays. Collins displays his athleticism and he made some nice cuts in his routes to get open.

9. Pharaoh Brown and Marlon Mack had two bad drops in the team portions. Brown made up for it later with the catch of the day, sliding to haul in a Davis Mills pass near the sideline.

10. This is not an impressive tight end group overall. Not yet, at least. There are several new faces and their actual tight end abilities are unknown to this point. Brevin Jordan had some nice plays in the open field and Davis Mills found him a few times on dump-off passes. Rookie Teagan Quitoriano didn't practice today.

11. Davis Mills operates with the calmness of a player who is the for sure unquestioned starting quarterback. As he should, that's what he is for the Texans. Mills didn't show off a lot in this practice but he didn't make too many mistakes. There was a wideout miscommunication that almost went for an interception. There is a clear emphasis on getting the ball out on time for Pep Hamilton's offense. Mills had a few chances to drive a deep pass, but opted for a quick pass to not hold onto the ball too long. This should be expected and obvious, but he isn't anywhere near the quarterback I saw last year have one of the worst training camp practices of all time.

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