You just aren't that into this team and I think I know why

I know the Texans are 10-4, but...

Bill O'Brien might be a reason you are not buying in to the Texans. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

You don't love the Houston Texans. Well, it seems like most of you don't. That has become evident over the course of this season. Some of you like them, but you don't love them. I'll admit that I thought winning might change things for you, but it hasn't. In fact, the level of disappointment after the Texans win over the Jets was comparable to that of a loss dropping them out of the playoff hunt. They have won 10 of 11 (which will end up being just the third double digit win total in team history), will win the division their division for 3 of the last 4 years, and currently have the #2 seed in the AFC. This is all AFTER starting 0-3. So why do the Texans not have your heart?

You Don't Like Billy
Anytime you have a conversation with someone about why they aren't buying into this Texans team, there is a good chance that Bill O'Brien's name is going to come up. Fans just don't like him. They don't like his demeanor. He's too "red-ass" for them I guess. I know that over the years I've heard people say they wanted more fire from their coaches or managers, but when they actually get it, they don't like it.

Now, admittedly, there are plenty of people whose issues with O'Brien have just as much to do with clock management or "play-calling." I feel like that is fair. I don't think he is as bad a play-caller as everyone paints him to be, but I do have an issue with this team's inability to convert FGs into TDs in the red zone. O'Brien has to own some of that. Same goes for that game management. Yuck. However, when people say Deshaun Watson succeeds in spite of O'Brien or struggles because of him, you know that it's at least a little personal.

It's Just Not Pretty
Let's face it - when the Texans win, it's usually a little ugly. Sometimes it's a lot ugly. The pick-six win against the Bills. The messy FG fest vs. Dallas. The missed FG vs. Denver. The non-punt win vs. the Colts. The late W vs. the Jets. These aren't the wins that good teams usually have in a single season.

Because of "bad wins," many fans aren't treating this like a 10-win team, they are treating it like fool's gold. They just don't play consistently dominantly on either side of the ball. They need a definable identity.

Deshaun Comes Back to Earth
Deshaun Watson's rookie season was can't-miss football. He had 19 touchdown passes (and 21 total TDs) in just six starts and seven total games. Insane production. Watson was on a tear that had rarely been seen in NFL history before he got hurt. Unfortunately for Watson and the Texans, I think many fans and media members believed that 2017 was the norm and that just wasn't and isn't fair to Watson. Defensive coordinators get paid too and they went to work on Watson studying his tendencies and weaknesses and have game-planned accordingly. Watson is having a solid season as he continues to grow and learn the game, but it feels like a letdown to many fans. It's not fair, but it's reality.

The Astros/Rocket Effect
I honestly believe that the silent culprit that has killed the energy around the Texans is the success of the Astros and Rockets in recent years. Winning a World Series set a new standard. There is no way around it. The Astros made us feel an excitement level that hasn't been experienced in this city since the mid 90s.

Oh, and by the way, this team is LOVEABLE! People love the players and love to cheer for them.The Rockets followed that up with a 60+ win season, an MVP season from James Harden and team with great chemistry who played with great passion and effort. Both of these teams had the ability to blow the doors off of opponents. When we watch the Texans, we don't see dominance. The bar has been set so high that the Texans are struggling to reach that level. Fans want dominant.

I kind of feel badly for the Texans, but I feel worse for us. We've all become more cynical and unhappy in general and when you combine that with the elements discussed above, it's made it hard for fans and media members to just enjoy wins. I get it - the Texans don't feel like a championship team, but wouldn't it be nice to be happy after a win again?

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans outmatched when it counts against Steelers

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Another game, another loss for the Texans. This time it was only a seven point loss to the Steelers as they fell 28-21 in Pittsburgh. This time around, Bill O'Brien looked to be on his game as far as decision-making was concerned. However, there is still room for improvement.

One thing that I did appreciate that O'Brien did was have trust in the offensive line. The Steelers pass rush could be problematic, but their defense overall is very stout. That's how they were able to nearly make the playoffs last year with a Duck at quarterback. While the Texans did give up five sacks, they weren't all due to poor offensive line play. The Texans lost 33 yards on those five sacks. Tytus Howard and Zach Fulton handled themselves fairly well after looking like turnstiles the first two games. O'Brien called longer developing pass plays and play action in spite of this and it paid off with Deshaun Watson and his receivers putting up 264 yards in the air.

There also wasn't an instance of Bumbling Bill this game. At the end of the first half, there was a minute and fourteen seconds left. The Texans were down 17-14 and had all three timeouts with the ball on their 25-yard line. Classic Bumbling Bill situation right? Wrong! Not only was the play-calling on point, but the players executed and the timeout situation was handled perfectly. First timeout was used after getting to midfield with 47 seconds left. Timeout number two was used after a 20 yard gain after the previous play. A 15 yard gain later to the Steeler 14-yard line and timeout number three was used with 28 seconds left. This set up perfectly for them to call a multitude of plays. They only needed one as Watson found Will Fuller in the end zone on a jump ball in which Fuller rose up and was physical enough to grab the ball over the defender. They went up 21-17 at the half.

Bill O'Brien's teams were 37-3 when leading at halftime. I say "were" because they lost this one after not scoring a single point in the second half. This was more on the defense not being able to fight its way out of a wet paper bag, and a lack of execution by the offense. Specifically, the run defense has been atrocious and Watson either needs quicker reads or to stop holding onto the ball so long by making quicker decisions. That's on coaching to put players in positions to succeed, but also the players to execute.

Ultimately, this was on O'Brien the general manager more than O'Brien the coach. This roster is woefully outmatched. The only time an outmatched roster can compete consistently is in college football with a wacky offense. It just doesn't happen in the NFL. Hey, at least Bumbling Bill didn't rear his butt chin today. Today's Culture Map play call menu was brought to you by Pour Behavior. I suggest getting over there and checking out their daily specials.

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