Bill O'Brien deserves one more chance to prove he can run the offense for the Texans

Offensive Coordinator? No thanks. Let O'Brien keep calling plays

Houstontexans.com

Bill O'Brien deserves another chance to call the plays for the Texans.

All you people who want an offensive coordinator in here just want change for the sake of change. You're not even sure if there is an upgrade there for the Texans. Grass isn't always greener on the other side and the play calls aren't always better with a different headset.

It isn't all his fault the offense has sputtered, there aren't better options, and it's bad for Deshaun Watson to hire a new play caller and offensive coordinator.

Did you watch the offensive line this season? Tell me what anyone would have done to fix the issues there. How anyone can be disappointed with the offensive line and simultaneously claim they want a new play caller is beyond me. The lack of consistent blocking alone, from the line to the tight ends and backs, torpedoes almost any argument against O'Brien. There isn't a lot of talent there and they had struggles early in the season caused by O'Brien and his staff but this has to be better before damning O'Brien.

Injuries is another way to spell inconsistency too. Will Fuller, Keke Coutee, Demaryius Thomas, and D'Onta Foreman all missed significant time this season. Watson spent a few weeks playing hurt. DeAndre Hopkins was on the injury report damn near all season. Oh an let's not forget the starting right tackle went down in the first game and the guards were rotating dealing with injuries. Even with all this, they were an average offense when it was all said and done.

There were 14 teams with a better offensive points per game statistic than the Houston Texans. Of those teams, six of the head coaches call the plays (Freddie Kitchens is the head coach now and called the plays for most the Browns offensive success). Atlanta fired Steve Sarkisian but nobody wants that experiment here. Todd Monken was in Tampa but lost play calling duties at one point to Dirk Koetter, who was hired by the Falcons to run their offense. Assume any of the other teams ahead won't let their play caller leave and that has just one option for the Texans, Mike McCarthy. He is sitting out looking for a head coaching job. So someone else who wasn't or hasn't called plays is going to be better than O'Brien?

The new face would be bad for Deshaun Watson too. A new play caller and offensive coordinator has to get used to Watson and his style but also the rest of the offense. Nobody knows the team like O'Brien and his offensive staff. Watson just stood up for his head coach, and play caller, last season. He frequently talks about his high approval for O'Brien's offense and how just a few bits of execution would have them being a little bit better. He's not wrong either. A few more plays here and there is a few more wins and maybe a bye.

This team is close to having a top offense. They need some luck with injuries and Brian Gaine needs to nail the draft and free agency to shore up the nagging issues. It is worth giving O'Brien one more shot. Synergy produced the best Texans season under O'Brien. Why go messing with it just yet? Plus, if O'Brien stinks they can turn the duties over to Sean Ryan, who was interviewed last offseason for coordinating jobs. Then, if he fails too, the Texans can look outside the organization.

Until then, how about a little patience?

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McCullers Jr. had nine strikeouts over four

McCullers Jr. looks sharp in tune-up before Rangers overpower Houston's bullpen

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite watching their chance to clinch their playoff spot on the field slip away in the walk-off loss on Friday, the Astros benefited from a loss by the Angels later in the night, securing their playoff berth. That meant they could play conservatively in the final two games of the season against the Rangers in Arlington. Here's a quick rundown of Saturday's matchup:

Final Score: Rangers 6, Astros 1.

Record: 29-30, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jimmy Herget (1-0, 3.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-3, 6.75 ERA).

McCullers Jr. looks playoff-ready 

With nothing substantial to play for, the Astros did not expect to ask Lance McCullers Jr. to go deep into Saturday's game, instead giving him a few innings for a tune-up before assuming whatever role he would play in the post-season. He looked impressive, a promising sign after his injury stint and struggles on the road at points this season.

He finished four innings, during which he racked up a season-high nine strikeouts while giving up no runs on just two hits, both singles, and two walks. His final line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 61 P.

Both teams trade runs as  they go to their bullpens

Meanwhile, neither team was getting much going at the plate in the early goings, keeping it a scoreless game through the first five. Brandon Bielak took over for McCullers Jr. starting in the fifth but would allow the first run of the night in the bottom of the sixth as the Rangers would get three singles to take a 1-0 lead.

After Kyle Gibson held the Astros at bay for six innings, Houston would get on the board against Texas' bullpen, getting a leadoff double by Aledmyz Diaz in the top of the seventh. Diaz moved to third on a sac bunt, then scored on a sac fly by Jack Mayfield, making it 1-1.

Rangers blow it open in the seventh

The tie didn't last long, as Bielak would put two on base in the bottom of the seventh before giving up a three-run homer to make it a 4-1 Rangers lead. Andre Scrubb was next out of Houston's bullpen and allowed a solo home run on his first pitch. Scrubb would complete the inning, but not before allowing another run on three singles to push Texas' lead to 6-1.

Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame with two strikeouts. Houston would not make the unlikely comeback in the top of the ninth, with the Rangers taking the game 6-1.

Up Next: The last game of the Astros' 2020 regular season will be Sunday at 2:05 PM Central, as are most other games on the MLB slate on the league's final regular-season day. Houston's starter is TBD as they will continue to preserve their arms for the best-of-three first round that starts on Tuesday, while Texas will send Jordan Lyles (1-6, 7.08 ERA) to the mound.

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