Every-Thing Sports

Explaining Bill O'Brien's time management skills

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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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The Astros will look to Framber Valdez to pitch Game 6 of the World Series. Composite image by Jack Brame.

They may not have finished the regular season with the best overall record in all of MLB, and they may not play in one of the toughest divisions in the league. Yet, the 2022 Houston Astros showed plenty of signs this season that their pitching staff was operating at an elite level, and paired with a more-than-adequate offense, they were the best team in baseball all along.

Pitching their way back into the series

The World Series isn't over yet by any means, with the Astros needing to get the final win in Game 6 or a possible Game 7 to finish things off, but the performance their arms put on in games 4 and 5 has to instill a sense of destiny about what's to come. Let's go back to Game 3, where, due to tipping or not, the Phillies offense completely dismantled Lance McCullers Jr. on their way to handing Houston a disheartening 7-0 loss.

That gave Philadelphia a 2-1 series lead after the first of three games at Citizens Bank Park and left Houston searching for a significant flip of momentum and quick. Boy, they got it, with Cristian Javier righting the ship with his spectacular start, going six hitless innings followed by a non-surprising quality night from the bullpen to finish the combined no-hitter.

That tied the series, setting up a big moment for Justin Verlander. After his Game 1 implosion continued his World Series woes, the presumptive Cy Young award winner must've felt some pressure heading into Game 5, knowing that another disappointing start may cost his team the series. Instead, he finally gets his first win in the Fall Classic, making it through five innings while allowing just one run before his bullpen would finish things off for him. Speaking of the bullpen...

Pressly for WS MVP?

Let's talk about Ryan Pressly and his ascension with the Astros. He joined the team via trade in 2018, coming in as a middle-innings reliever. In 2020, then-closer Roberto Osuna suffered an injury, and Houston decided to move Pressly to the closer role. That change has paid massive dividends for the team, and there's been no better display of it than Pressly's performance in this World Series so far.

In Game 1, he enters in a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth and sits down the nine, one, and two hitters of the Phillies to give Houston a chance at a walk-off, though they would go on to lose in extras. In Game 2, he allows the only hit he's given up to the Phillies, which would score after an error but still held on to finish off the victory that tied the series 1-1.

After not appearing in the lopsided Game 3 loss, he enters in the ninth of Game 4, which despite being a 5-0 game, still had a high level of stress with a combined no-hitter on his shoulders, which he would get across the finish line. Then, the night after finishing that no-no, he has the most impressive outing so far.

In the midst of one of the most stressful games of the year for Houston, their bullpen allows a rare run in the bottom of the eighth, making it a 3-2 game and giving the Phillies a chance to put together a series-defining rally if they could take the lead and go up 3-2 in the series. Dusty Baker opts to trust his closer, bringing in Pressly with runners on first and third with one out in a one-run game, asking him to escape the jam and get a five-out save.

The first batter he faces, Pressly does precisely what he needs to do, getting a three-pitch strikeout to allow any out to end the inning, which he would get against the dangerous Kyle Schwarber to send the game to the ninth with the Astros still in front. Then he's faced with the heart of Philadelphia's order in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston still owning a one-run lead. Strikeout, fly out with a fantastic Chas McCormick assist, a hit batter, then a groundout to win the game.

There will be more offense to consider for Jeremy Peña, Alex Bregman, and others that are also firmly in the discussion should the Astros win the series. Still, with how Pressly's going, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Houston's closer takes home the World Series MVP trophy.

Run the playbook one more time

Before the trophies start getting handed out, Houston needs to check off that final box, which is getting one more win. Their recipe for success continues to be having one of their elite starters get as far into the game and with as minor damage as possible, then trusting their bullpen arms to navigate the rest of the way.

With the uncertainty of a Game 7, the Astros need that playbook to work in Game 6, where they'll have their "other ace," Framber Valdez, on the mound looking to replicate the success he had in Game 2, where he went six and one-thirds innings while allowing just one run. After the day off to rest the bullpen, if he can get into the middle innings with a close game, Dusty Baker will be able to piece together the rest with his cast of near-untouchable arms, and Houston will be champions once more.

Bench Framber

Astros Framber Valdez, Justin VerlanderBench FramberComposite image by Brandon Strange

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