LANCE ZIERLEIN

Take a few days off, Twitter finger guy: Your Texans takes are old and tired

Bill O'Brien's play calling is not that bad. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

With a resounding 34-17 win over the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans have now won eight in a row and have a commanding lead over everyone else in the division. In fact, they are the first team in NFL history to start 0-3 before landing at 8-3.

There were so many fans on Twitter feeding off on the proverbial flesh of Bill O’Brien and every offensive lineman early in the season….. and not without cause. The feeding has continued deep into the win streak but isn’t it getting a little unfocused and tiring at this point? Angry Twitter Finger guy may need to slow his roll on these popular narratives.

Bill O’Brien - Atrocious Play-Caller

Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that O’Brien is the most dynamic coordinator of an offense that I’ve ever seen, but I feel like this one gets overstated too much. To me, O’Brien’s biggest flaw as a coordinator of the offense is his approach near the redzone. O’Brien has even put blame on himself for his play-calling in that area. However, between the 20-yard lines, the Texans offense hasn’t been all that bad.

Being a good play-caller is about either picking at a defenses deficiencies, keeping the defense off-balance, or limiting your own exposure due to areas of concern with your own offense. While O’Brien has been up-and-down in all of these areas, Monday Night was not the night to come after him on Twitter and yet there was Angry Twitter Finger guy letting the hate flow.

 

The O-Line is GARBAGE

This unit had a 0% approval rate over the first 5 or 6 games of the year and rightfully so. They were ill-equipped to handle anyone’s pass rush and Bill O’Brien was doing them no favors, early on, with some of his game-planning. Then a magical thing happened. The Texans moved Julien Davenport from the right side back to his more natural left tackle spot and added the much-maligned Kendall Lamm back at right tackle.

That doesn’t sound like much, but it added an important level of consistency. Now “consistency” is a relative term, but by the standards set by last year’s unit and the one we saw early in the year, this iteration of the offensive line has been like a team of Pro-Bowlers. In all seriousness, I’m not delusional. I know this team will need new starters at no less than two and maybe three of those spots by next year. At least in a perfect world. With that said, they are fourth in the league in rushing and have done a much better job of protecting the quarterback. Is it perfect or even very good? No, but it’s good enough to lay off the Twitter Fingers and enjoy an 8-game winning streak.

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
It's all systems go for the Houston Texans! Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images.

It was 2002 and the city of Houston was rewarded with the NFL's 32nd franchise. I remember the newspaper special section with all the info points on the new team. There was even a full page graphic explaining how the grass plates were constructed. (Side Note: We should've known right then and there it was going to be disastrous!) There was a level of excitement unseen since the Rockets won a title, I'd assume. People were wearing “32, Houston” jerseys. There was more Battle Red, Deep Steel Blue, and Liberty White around town than a Fourth of July day parade.

The next time the city was excited about Texans football involved the Gary Kubiak days of making the playoffs. After that, Bill O'Brien hung a few division title banners as well. That's when the lull came. It all came crashing down, swiftly and mightily. The death of Bob McNair may have played a part in things deteriorating so quickly. Whether blame is placed here or there, changes needed to be made. Cal McNair was seen as incompetent. In comes Nick Caserio. He had a mess to clean up. The last two seasons were awful, but necessary. After back-to-back one-and-done coaches, Caserio has hired his guy.

Enter DeMeco Ryans. The former Texans great linebacker was the 49ers defensive coordinator the past two seasons. He took over a great defense and kept it going. From the moment he stepped on campus at Alabama, he commanded a different level of respect. Not only was he good, but he was a leader. Nicknamed “Cap” because he was a captain on and off the field. That followed him to Houston. His presence was felt everywhere he went. It was known before his career ended that he'd most likely be a coach one day.

This moment in time right now is giving 2002, Kubiak playoffs, and O'Brien playoff vibes but amplified. Why? Because one of this franchise's own has come home. Ryans was the most desired candidate this coaching cycle. Sean Payton may have had the bigger name, but Ryans was the one the Broncos tried to go back after, then settled on Payton. Teams he turned down had to move along and find other candidates to fill their vacancies. HE CHOSE HOUSTON! Nothing like feeling desired and being chosen!

I believe DeMeco will turn this franchise around and make them a contender. It's very rare that you have a star athlete turned sought after coach and NOBODY has a bad word to say about him! Social media has turned things into a 12-hour news cycle. Yet you've NEVER heard or seen DeMeco involved in any foolishness. He's been a model citizen, while also maintaining a high level of play and now coaching. When people respect you for your football acumen AND your character, that says a lot. Whoever said nice guys finish last obviously hasn't met DeMeco.

Armed with some cap space, draft capital, a capable GM, and ownership seeking a fresh start, DeMeco is set up to succeed. It's up to him, and Caserio, to finish what was started two years ago. Currently, the house on Kirby has a few more improvements to make. Some paint, redoing the floors, new landscaping, and new furniture. The kitchens and bathrooms are done. It needs the final touch. DeMeco is that final touch.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome