BARRY LAMINACK

Kevin Johnson's loss may be no loss at all for Texans

Perhaps the most frustrating thing to come out of last Sunday's 27-20 loss to the New England Patriots was the play of starting cornerback Kevin Johnson. His inability to be anywhere near the ball and do his job effectively stood out to me more than anything else on Sunday.

He looked lost out there; like he didn’t belong.

I went so far as to say on Twitter, during the game, that he should never be allowed on the field again.

What I didn't anticipate was shortly after my tweet hit the web that Johnson would suffer another concussion, an injury that would necessitate him being placed on IR (but according to Aaron Wilson on Twitter(@AaronWilson_NFL): "...he can be designated for return.”)

First things first, I feel horrible for Kevin Johnson. I would never wish injury on any player, especially such a serious and dangerous injury like multiple concussions. All my best to Kevin for a full and speedy recovery.

That said, it still doesn't change my mind about his role with the Texans. I think at this point it’s time to move on from Johnson, and the Texans have plenty of options that will allow them to do so.

To fill the roster spot the Texans went out and signed journeyman cornerback Shareece Wright. Wright started five games last year for the Bills, so it’s not a total Shock that Brian Gaine reached out to him.

But even with the signing of Wright, the Texans have a ton of other options already on the roster that can be moved around in the secondary.

Johnathan Joseph is pretty much staying put, but Aaron Colvin could slide to the other outside corner position (and I’ll go as far as to say now that I think by the time the year is up, he’ll be the best corner on the Texans).

If the Texans like Colvin covering the slot, they could move Kareem Jackson back to corner and give some reps to highly regarded rookie Justin Reid at safety. Heck the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu often moved up from his safety position to play some corner when he was in Arizona.

So don’t worry about the secondary Texans fan, I think they’ll be fine.

Spend all of your time worrying about that o-line. Yikes!

History works against the Texans way of doing things

Should the Texans have pulled a Titans?

Houstontexans.com

The Texans are unlikely to fire Bill O'Brien. Any defense of O'Brien has included the fact the Texans made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. Something he had previously accomplished with Brock Osweiler and barely accomplished this season with Deshaun Watson.

It isn't unheard of for a coach to have been fired after making it to the playoffs though. Rare, but not unheard of in the NFL.

Here are the examples of teams moving on from coaches right after a playoff appearance or even a playoff win and how they fared with their new head coach.

2001 - Tampa Bay fires Tony Dungy for Jon Gruden

We all know how this one turned out!

Dungy had seen back-to-back wild card playoff appearances end just one game into the postseason. The Buccaneers got smoked in both those games scoring just 12 points in the two games. Each year they also had a team go further in the playoffs from their division.

Tampa Bay fired Tony Dungy and later traded for John Gruden. It was a hefty price to pay (2 first round picks, 2 second round picks, and $8 million) but they won the Super Bowl in Gruden's first year.

It worked out great for them. It worked out great for Tony Dungy too. He went to Indianapolis and won a Super Bowl a few years later with the Colts and Peyton Manning.

2006 - San Diego fires Marty Schottenheimer for Norv Turner

I loved Marty Schottenheimer. I, like most, knew his playoff disappointment was too much for the Chargers to stomach. It was only his second appearance in the playoffs for San Diego and the Chargers were the best team in the NFL. They promptly lost their first playoff game to a hot Patriots team.

Norv Turner would take over and though the offense wasn't as good, they went a round further and if Philip Rivers wasn't hurt they might have ousted the Patriots and won the Super Bowl. Turner would never reach the conference championship again losing in the divisional round the following year and the wild card round the year after that. Turner would coach three more seasons where he wouldn't make a playoff apperance before being fired. Marty Schottenheimer would never coach in the NFL again after San Diego fired him.

It almost worked out perfect in the very first year for the Chargers.

2017 - Tennessee fires Mike Mularkey for Mike Vrabel

This one has to sting the most for Texans fans.

It was a joke Mike Mularkey was hired after a 2-7 stint in 2015 as the interim head coach but he rattled off a 9-7 record the following year. The Titans lost three of their last four in 2017 but made the playoffs. Miraculously, they went to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs.

Mike Mularkey was going to save his job.

Then the Patriots smacked them down and Mularkey was fired a couple of days later.

"We've done a lot of good things here over the past two years. I just felt like we needed to go a different direction and maximize the skill sets of the players."

Those are the words of Titans general manager Jon Robinson.

Now, think about those words as Deshaun Watson had a worse statistical year in 2019 than the previous year. Same for DeAndre Hopkins. In fact, the whole offense was worse statistically finishing 14th in points a year after finishing 11th. The team was deeper on offense. The offensive line was better. Deshaun Watson had a healthy offseason.

And the Texans regressed.

The Titans, thanks to Mike Vrabel maximizing his players, are playing in the AFC Championship this weekend with a former Texans coach.

History is against O'Brien

Every Super Bowl winning coach since 2000 played in a conference championship game before their fourth year withn their team with the exception of Tom Coughlin and Pete Carrol. Each won the Super Bowl in year four coaching their respective teams. Coughlin won the Super Bowl in year four with the Giants but he of course took Jacksonville to an AFC title game in year two of his stint there. Heck, even the Super Bowl losing head coaches in that same time frame had almost all played in a conference championship before year four.

O'Brien is entering year seven as the Texans head coach.

All three of these situations worked out nearly immediately for these teams. The Texans will not have that option. Will O'Brien even be in trouble for year eight if he replicates this past season? Would he even be in danger of losing any sort of power if he took a small step back.

Despite history working against him and evidence showing there can be big success after medium and small success, it might not be in the cards for the Texans. We could be in the decade of O'Brien unless he truly is special and unique or unless the Texans take a page out of their hated rivals' book.

What do you make of this? Should the Texans have pulled a Titans and moved on from O'Brien despite his 2019 campaign?

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