Where is the trust level in the Texans head coach and how can the team recovery from the KC collapse

O'Brien, Texans at franchise crossroads

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

3 Headlines, 2 Questions, 1 Bet as the Texans hit the offseason after an embarrasing loss to Kansas City.

No trust in Bill O'Brien after this

Deshaun Watson may trust him but I don't.

This loss to the Chiefs hit pretty much every spot on the Bill O'Brien bad bingo card. Timeout when they couldn't get a critical 3rd and 9 ready? Check. Timeout when he thought he might have had a first down but it was fourth down and the play wasn't in soon enough? Check. Lacked aggressiveness? Check. Overly aggressive at wrong time? Check. Offense falls apart? Check. Defense isn't instructed to try something new? Check. Weird trick play when you NEED a score? Check. Quarterback has to tell you to not punt and go for it in the fourth quarter? Check.

Bingo.

Unfortunately for Texans fans the prize is another season of Bill O'Brien in control. Every single team in the AFC South has played for an AFC Championship since Bill O'Brien took over as the head coach. His former defensive coordinator is coaching for a trip to the Super Bowl this week. One of his best friends went two years ago.

Each of the past two season the other AFC South team has gone deeper than O'Brien's Texans. And each of them had a tougher road to go further than the Texans did.

O'Brien said after the game yesterday he believed the team was headed in the right direction. Nobody agrees with that.

After talking about just Sunday, lets not forget O'Brien authored a less impressive offense this year despite having a far more talented group of players. They faced less stud quarterbacks than 2018 and somehow had less wins. Houston had a great opportunity to at least threaten for a bye, alas they weren't even playing meaningful football in Week 17.

There's no reason to believe in Bill O'Brien's future as the head coach of the Texans. We just saw the best it gets and it is ugly.

No general manager expected for Texans

Bill O'Brien said he doesn't expect to fire himself. Essentially. I have to imagine the ownership wouldn't make that discussion a lengthy one if they were planning on changing things. Perhaps in his upcoming meeting with ownership it isn't out of the question they suggest a general manager but don't hold your breath.

New direction on defense necessary 

I laid it out on SportsMap Sunday

The problem with moving on from Romeo Crennel is I'm not sure who Bill O'Brien would target. The one year Crennel wasn't the defensive coordinator O'Brien promoted Mike Vrabel to that position. John Pagano has been a two-time defensive coordinator in the NFL with stops coordinating the Chargers and Raiders previously. I believe he will be the new defensive coordinator next year.

Anthony Weaver will one day be a defensive coordinator but I don't expect he would earn the promotion. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to see him move to a more prominent position with another team.

John Butler was O'Brien's defensive coordinator at Penn State and coached defensive backs for him in Houston. He had a messy exit from the Texans though and I wouldn't anticipate he is a possible option.

The New England tree has been picked over quite a bit too. With multiple defensive signal callers from the Patriots now head coaches elsewhere the pool of former Patriots staffers that could be ready to call defense is low.

George Edwards is a free agent after Minnesota moved on from him. He coordinated a regularly impressive Vikings defense and his Vikings exit came as a bit of a surprise. This would include a big scheme change but after nearly a decade running the 3-4 defense something new wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

What would O'Brien give up?

"I think you have to look at everything," Bill O'Brien said about potentially relinquishing some of his duties.

He can't keep doing it the way he is doing it. There is too much on O'Brien's plate. Just can't stay at the same pace. He needs someone to call plays for him. If I could make one change for O'Brien it would be that. Have someone call the plays for the offense and improve at the small details of being a head coach.

If an offensive whiz coordinated for O'Brien he would be more in tune with the flow of the game and perhaps make less mistakes.

I'm not the owner but I would make O'Brien hire someone to take some things off his plate.

Will Watson and Tunsil get paid?

Both of the Texans stars can get new deals this offseason. Tunsil likely would eclipse Lane Johnson's number in Philadelphia or come damn close, and Deshaun Watson would reset the market.

I anticipate Watson trying to wait out fellow 2017 draft pick Patrick Mahomes. Watson hasn't had as good of a career and isn't as good as Mahomes but he is more necessary to the Texans.

I bet the Texans are thankful for this news

Stay tuned for SportMap's analysis.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Astros are the toast of the town. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The signing of free agent first baseman Jose Abreu on Monday shows one more time that baseball is Jim Crane’s world and 29 other teams are supporting players on a reality show called Keeping Up with the Astros.

Crane, owner of the World Series champs, parted ways with general manager James Click earlier this month. So what does Crane do without a front office boss during this free agent season? He turns around and negotiates a deal on his own with former MVP and 3-time All-Star Abreu, one of the most coveted free agents who just happens to fill a hole in the Astros lineup.

Crane is now Jerry Jones, both team owner and general manager, with one big difference: Crane’s team has won titles this millennium.

What does the Abreu signing mean for the Astros’ chances of repeating as World Series champions in 2023? And what does it mean for arch rival Yankees?

One headline Tuesday put it this way:

“Yankees Season Over Before It Even Started.”

Abreu, who puts the “every” in everyday player (he played 157 games last year and hit .304), will take over for Yuli Gurriel at first base. Gurriel, who is a free agent, may be brought back by the Astros as a utility player.

If you’re looking for hardware, Ace is not the place – try the Astros batting order. Manager Dusty Baker will fill out a lineup card with Jose Altuve (MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, 3 batting titles), Jeremy Pena (ALCS MVP, World Series MVP, Gold Glove), Yordan Alvarez (Rookie of the Year, ALCS MVP, Silver Slugger), Alex Bregman (All-Star Game MVP, Silver Slugger), Kyle Tucker (Gold Glove), Jose Abreu (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger).

Don’t be surprised if Justin Verlander, the last piece of Crane’s announced puzzle, returns to the Astros next year, and two years after that. Verlander is chasing career goals like 300 wins. Where does he stand the best chance of getting there?

At the moment, the 2023 Astros batting order falls off the cliff 7-9 with Chas McCormick (.245 in 2022), Jake Meyers (.227) and Martin Maldonado (.186). But who’s to say that general manager/owner Crane is done dealing?

The Astros aren’t just successful on the field. They’ve won the hearts and minds of Houstonians. Astros baseball has become sort of a religion in recent years.

In 1966 John Lennon told a magazine writer that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Lennon caught hell for that remark and had to apologize. On a less ecumenical matter, the Astros might say they’re more popular than Thanksgiving and sorry not sorry.

Earlier this month, the Astros drew a million people to their downtown World Series celebration. Last week, they held the Thanksgiving Parade in Houston and many of the sidewalks looked like the upper deck at Texans games – maybe 20,000 people at the parade and I’m being generous.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome