TEXANS IN TURMOIL

John Granato: With Gaine hire, Bill O'Brien has won the battle on Kirby, but can he win the war?

Bill O'Brien got his man in Brian Gaine. Will it pay off? Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Make no mistake about it, Bill O’Brien won the battle. But has he won the war? It needs to be a long drawn out war. If it’s a quick one he’s a goner.

BOB got his guy in Brian Gaine. When Gaine left the organization a year ago the whispers were that BOB was none too happy about it. That was his guy. Well now he’s got his guy but Rick is still lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce should things not go well on Kirby next season.

The problem with that is that it’s a game that Rick has weighted toward his side. The roster is Swiss cheese. Look at all the holes on the offensive line and defensive backfield, a lack of talent at wide receiver and tight end and no depth for special teams.

My worry is that BOB is only going to get one year to fix all that with no first or second rounder. Does he deserve more? That’s arguable. He has his detractors and rightfully so.

What has he proven as a head coach? He won two division titles in a weak division and while his offense turned into the scariest in the league with Deshaun at the helm they still only managed a 3-3 record thanks to BOB’s questionable play calling in crunch time.

Can he fix all these problems in one offseason and prove that he was the right choice over Rick? That’s your task, Mr. O’Brien and it looks like Mission Impossible with all there is to do and no picks to do it with. It’s not hopeless though. There is plenty of money to spend on free agents although it’s dearth of tackle talent. All dressed up and nowhere to go.

But there is an ace in the hole for BOB. Rick left one thing  behind that could be his undoing: No. 4. No. 4 can cure all evils. No. 4 made the most mundane offense in the league over the last three years into the most dynamic. No. 4 made the worst offensive line in the league serviceable. Kendall Lamm was actually OK when No. 4 was on the field!!!! That alone should have garnered MVP consideration for Deshaun.

I, for one, am rooting for BOB. I want to see the team win. I want the playoffs to actually mean something as opposed to the playoffs we’ve had here in the past where we knew that they could only go so far with the talent they had. I want to see Deshaun vault to the top of the NFL quarterback hierarchy. I want to see JJ great again.

One thing I don’t want is Rick back in the GM seat. That’s something I’m just not interested in. I’ve seen that movie for 11 years and I know the ending. It ends badly every time. The good guys never win. The evil empire always breaks through its defenses and kills the good guys’ season. With Rick standing on the deck of the starship overlooking the fight there’s nothing but battle red blood all over the field.

I don’t know if BOB’s the answer. I loved the hire at the time. Since then, meh. I loved the offensive adjustments he made with Deshaun at qb but there really isn’t much more to hang your hat on. He knows more football than we ever will but we can see deficiencies in time management and replays. Those are things he can get better at but four years is a big enough sample size to know that it’s a problem.

There is a lot to fix but I’m betting on Bill O’Brien to win the war. Ironically Rick could lose it because of his greatest move; drafting Deshaun Watson. His greatest achievement could be his undoing. That and all the crappy draft picks he’s made.

But the clock is ticking, Bill O’Brien. You’ve won the battle but the war isn’t over.  




 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome