Cult Of Mediocrity

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

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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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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