Cult Of Mediocrity

Patrick Creighton: Five years for O'Brien and Gaine? What were the Texans thinking?

Bill O'Brien got an extension he did not earn. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Patrick Creighton is co-host of "Nate & Creight" on SportsMap 94.1 FM Houston, a host on SB Nation Radio and PxP broadcaster for Texan Live. Follow him on Twitter at @PCreighton1

Open your eyes, what do you see?

The Houston Texans handled family business Saturday, announcing they had signed new GM Brian Gaine and extended head coach Bill O’Brien.  That part wasn’t a surprise, as the Texans were widely reported to be working on deals for both.  Their deals were for the same length, also not a surprise, and exactly what I had spoken about on Friday afternoon on Nate & Creight on Sportsmap 94.1 FM.

But five years?  Talk about handing over the keys to the Ferrari….

Bill O’Brien isn’t a bad coach.  He isn’t a great coach.  He also has never proven his ‘'quarterback guru’' label that he came to Houston with was anything other than “he coached Tom Brady.”   He is 31-33 in his 4 years in Houston, mostly on the back of a 4-12 meltdown littered with IR designations.   That being said, the three biggest takeaways from O’Brien’s season this year were, in order:

  • Chose Tom Savage over Deshaun Watson to start season.

  • Got scared late vs Patriots, took ball out of Watson’s hands, chose to punt and lost.

  • Got scared late vs Seahawks, took ball out of Watson’s hands, chose to punt and lost.

Only in Houston, where Bob McNair detests change, could such a season merit a 5 year extension, one that coincides with the deal given an unproven GM, who was hired primarily because the head coach likes him.

Maybe it’s just me, but 9-7 isn’t something to be excited about.  I would have understood a two year extension for O’Brien and a three year deal for Gaine (remember O’Brien is already under contract for 2018) would have given this tandem three years to prove their mettle and that they can be successful together.  Five years is far too long a commitment, especially to a head coach who hasn’t shown he’s truly committed to the franchise with his camp’s media leaks of how unhappy he is and always wanting changes to the organizational hierarchy or he may have to move on at the end of the last three seasons.

The past two drafts, according to sources, Rick Smith phased O’Brien out of the draft process.  Those two drafts have been the two strongest in the O’Brien tenure.  It was Smith who wanted Watson, had him rated as the top QB in the draft (O’Brien preferred Mahomes) and pulled the trigger to land the guy who is now firmly entrenched as the franchise quarterback.  O’Brien hasn’t proven so far to be a great talent evaluator.   Who knows what Gaine will be as a GM, but I wouldn’t be willing to bet five years on a guy that the organization had just allowed to walk away eight months ago.  

I’m glad McNair doesn’t want to be Jimmy Haslam and change coaches and front offices every year or two, but the length of these deals has no basis in football sense.   The five year deals are clearly a commitment to continuity, but I can’t say they are a commitment to excellence.  It’s more a commitment to mediocrity.

Three mediocre 9-7 seasons in a bad division and a 4-12 bottom out.  Five year commitment.

Ask not what the Texans can do for you……

 

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