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

Bill O'Brien against Jacksonville
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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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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