Every-Thing Sports

Explaining Bill O'Brien's time management skills

Houston Texans Bill O'Brien
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In his six years roaming the sidelines for the Houston Texans, head coach Bill O'Brien has garnered a reputation for his time management skills, or lack thereof. He repeatedly will waste timeouts, not call them, botch end of game/end of half situations, and generally shows a lack of understanding when it comes to situational football. This was particularly apparent when at the end of first half of the Jags game, he held onto two timeouts. When asked about it in the postgame presser, he gave yet another bullshit answer basically saying they executed minus a few missed opportunities on a couple plays.

That was maybe the "toughest" line of questioning O'Brien has faced since coming to Houston. Instead of calling for checks and balances, or even his job, let's try to understand where O'Brien is coming from. Maybe he's just misunderstood? He could be more complex than the thin-skinned arrogant prick we've grown to know and loathe. I've taken a few psychology courses and read a ton of material. Personally, I think I'm qualified to look into what makes O'Brien tick and why he's so bad with time and timeout management. There are several reasons why I think O'Brien may be confused in crunch time. Here's a look into some reasons why he tends to have brain farts:

Playoff Tiebreaker

AJ Hoffman mentioned this on The Blitz that he thinks O'Brien yesterday in hour two that his theory is that O'Brien thinks saving timeouts are a playoff tiebreaker. Giving the way this season is going, he probably thinks piling up timeouts will help his team's chances in a heated playoff race.

#TeamChicFilA

In the great Chicken Sandwich War of 2019, O'Brien is #TeamChicFilA. He must think saving timeouts and wasting clock is a way to earn points on the Chic Fil A app. I'm almost certain he's reached red status by now. However, he must believe that the extra timeouts and/or time clock wasting is earning him points on the app that will lead to rewards, which will give him brownie points with the team when he caters lunch after practice. Popeye's never stood a chance because they didn't have rewards points on their app and ran out of sandwiches.

Cash back on gas

O'Brien does a ton of driving as does most Houston residents when it comes to commuting to and from work. Maybe he's convinced that the timeouts can be converted into gas miles/points he can use. While I can't pinpoint where he lives, one can only imagine that his commute is at least 15-20 minutes like the rest of us. Given that aspect, he's most likely hoarding then to get money back or a discount off his gas when filling up. If he's smart, he'd use Get Upside.

Overrated

O'Brien thinks stopping the clock late in a half or game is overrrated. He's so overly confident in his play-calling abilities, that he has fully convinved himself that calling timeout is overrated. He believes in himself so much, his confidence has outgrown his belief in time itself.

Hoarder

Here's a theory some of you may not have suspected. O'Brien could be a secretive hoarder. It could be on of those situations in which Mrs. O'Brien isn't fully aware of his secretive hoarding. Henceforth, he's always tried to retain timeouts thinking that he will accumulate them and be able to use them later.

Stupid smart

Yet another working observation I've noticed is that he could be so smart, he's a dumbass. Some smarts lack in other areas. O'Brien may be one of us. There are tinmes in which I can't figure out simple things, but I can tell you who blew an assignment or ran a bad route on any given play. O'Brien may be the same way. He's so focused on the macro that he loses track of the micro. Bad combination.

As you can see, we could all be looking at O'Brien the wrong way. Maybe we should be giving him the benfit of the doubt. Maybe we should all be following his lead. Instead, we sit by awaiting his firing while he's busy being the smartest guy on Kirby. Maybe we're all dumbs, and he's a smart? Maybe he has this life thing figured out and we're still stupidly stumbling around looking for answers. I'd hate to live in a world in which O'Brien is the key to life. Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

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96 games down, 66 games to go as the Astros tackle a fairly significant series in Seattle to open up the figurative second half of the season Friday night. It’s actually just over 40 percent of the schedule remaining. With the Astros having closed within one game of the Mariners in the American League West it’s the biggest series possible for them as the season resumes. But it’s not remotely make or break. Measuring by run differential the Astros should already be out front. They have outscored their opponents by 49 runs while Seattle is just plus-19. The actual standings can be explained in no small part by this comparison: in one-run games the Astros are a pitiful 7-17 while the Mariners are 19-14.

The spectrum of outcomes this weekend ranges from the Astros sweeping and leaving the Emerald City two games on top, to getting swept and heading down the coast to Oakland four games behind. Of note, the Mariners beat the Astros in five of the seven meetings to date this season. So if Seattle wins this series it clinches the season series and playoff tiebreaker should a spot come down to it. The Astros and Mariners have another series to come after this one, three games in Houston the final week of the regular season.

Trade deadline looming

What may be even more important than this weekend’s games is who gets what done between now and the July 30 trade deadline. With Justin Verlander clearly not close to returning, Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss both performance question marks, and both Ronel Blanco and Hunter Brown being asked to handle unprecedented workloads for them, the Astros’ rotation needs obvious fortification. The Mariners’ rotation is second to none in the American League and their bullpen is good. Seattle’s lineup is atrocious. The Chicago White Sox are on pace to be one of the worst teams of all-time. The ChiSox’ offense is a joke with a team batting average of .220. The Mariners’ team average is .219. Only the White Sox and pathetic Marlins are scoring fewer runs per game than the M’s.

The Mariners have 11 players with at least 100 at bats this season. Eight of them have an OPS of .690 or lower. Cal Raleigh has the highest at .734. The Astros have 12 guys with at least 100 at bats including Jose Abreu. Abreu, Chas McCormick, and Mauricio Dubon are the only .690 or worse OPS guys. Kyle Tucker is the Astros’ OPS leader by a significant margin, .979 to Yordan Alvarez’s .912. What’s that you ask? Who is this Kyle Tucker? 35 missed games and counting for “Tuck” with his leg bone bruise, with return not imminent. T-Mobile Park is a notably better pitchers’ park than is Minute Maid Park, but not enough to shrug off the Mariners’ offensive ineptitude. The Mariners team payroll is more than 100 million dollars below the Astros’ payroll. The Mariners have the clearly better farm system from which to deal. If Seattle doesn’t add offense, its ownership and front office will deserve a continued fade in the second half, on top of the Mariners’ 8-15 gimp into the All-Star break.

Don't forget about the Rangers

With the Astros and Mariners going at it this weekend with the division lead in the balance, a reminder that this is not a two-team race. The Texas Rangers rallying to take the final two games at Minute Maid Park last weekend sent up a flare that the reigning World Series Champions are definitely still in the picture. The Rangers sit four games behind the Astros, five back of the Mariners. If the Rangers manage to win their series in Arlington with the Orioles this weekend, they are guaranteed to gain ground on at least one team ahead of them. The Astros-Rangers season series sits tied at five wins apiece with three games left, it will be decided in Arlington the first week of August. The Rangers and Mariners play seven more times.

In broader view, as measured by opponents’ records, the Astros have the toughest remaining schedule among the three. Among the 30 big league clubs the Rangers have the fourth easiest slate left, the Mariners have the fifth easiest, the Astros have the 15th easiest. If the Astros ultimately are not to win the West, there is the Wild Card race to keep in mind. The Astros are seven games behind the Yankees, four behind the Twins, and three and a half back of the Red Sox. Those three currently hold the Wild Card spots. The Astros are also a game and a half behind the Royals. The Astros have already lost the season series and tiebreakers to the Yankees, Twins, and Royals. The Astros and Red Sox have all six of their meetings yet to come.

Remembering Ken Hoffman

This is my first column since the passing last Sunday of my friend and eventual colleague Ken Hoffman. I originally learned of Ken’s quirkiness and wit through his columns at the Houston Post. He was a big sports fan. Our friendship was driven in part by our shared passion for tennis. We played probably more than a thousand times over nearly 20 years. Tennis and baseball were Ken’s two favorite sports. His two favorite athletes were Roger Federer and Jose Altuve. Well, after he and his wife Erin’s son Andrew, who was a pitcher on Trinity University’s 2016 NCAA Division Three national championship-winning team.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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