Food for thought?

Joel Blank: Texans need course in comparison shopping after O'Brien gets better deal than McCarthy

Bill O'Brien came at a steep price.

Ever since we've been old enough to make a major purchase, or smart enough to pay attention to how we grocery shop, we all are well versed in comparison shopping. It has been proven that even when we think we have found the best deal, it never hurts to shop around. You also have probably experienced at least once in your life that sick feeling when you find out that you may have paid too much.

It's with that in mind that I present to you the following comparison and ask you, if you are the Houston Texans, did you overreact and overpay to keep your head coach? It has become an unwritten rule in coaching that as you enter the final year of your contract, you -- and more specifically your agent -- are entitled to either an extension or a pink slip because being a lame duck coach has become unacceptable. Both Bill O'Brien and Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers were about to enter the final year of their respective contracts in 2018. Both coaches have a solid resume, and have achieved division championships and other accolades. The difference between the two is one coach got a four-year extension, while the other coach got an additional year to continue to prove he is worthy and deserving of a long term deal. After reading the following statistics, I will leave it up to you as to which team might have jumped the gun and given too much.

Mike McCarthy has had a pretty good run in Green Bay. In his 12-year stint with the Packers ,he has made the playoffs nine of those 12 years, been to four conference championships, won the division six times and made one Super Bowl appearance in 2010, which the Packers won by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. His best season was a 15-1 finish in 2011 and his worst season was a 6-10 campaign in 2008. Last year was a down year for both McCarthy and his team as the Packers finished 7-9, losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collar bone that caused hm to miss nine of the final 10 games of the year after starting the schedule 4-1. McCarthy has won 63% of his games over his 12-year career as a head coach, and is (121-70-1) over that time frame.

Bill O'Brien just finished his fourth year as head coach of the Houston Texans. He is 31-33 over his career as the head coach of the red, white and blue, including three consecutive 9-7 seasons. He just completed his worst year as an NFL Head coach, finishing 4-12 after losing Rookie QB sensation Deshaun Watson to a season ending knee injury in week 8. The team lost 8 of its last 9 contests after Watson went down. O'Brien has won two division titles and one playoff game in his career as the head coach in Houston. Not a bad way to start your career as a head coach, but then again, not quite McCarthy. 

So, with all that being said, and knowing what you know as even an average football fan, which one of these two men was worthy of a five-year contract extension? Am I the only one that's finds it odd that the coach that has a better winning percentage, more career wins, more division titles, more playoff appearances, as well as four more appearances in a conference championship and one Super Bowl title is the guy who only got a 1 year extension, while the other guy received four more years with his team? Personal feelings aside, the numbers speak for themselves and the contract that O'Brien got seemed to be a textbook case of a team pressing the panic button, believing the hype, and overreacting. Maybe O'Brien should give his agent a raise, because the rumor mill was churning at the end of the season and he was supposedly first in line to succeed Bill Belichick if he retired and also the leading candidate to be the next coach of the New York Giants. We all know that agents have a way of talking to writers and getting their story out there regardless of whether it's true or not. It seems in this case as if they did nothing but back the Texans into a corner and help to secure O'Brien's new deal. Regardless of the how and why, it seems like the Texans need a crash course in comparison shopping.

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Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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