The Texans discussed plenty of things as they cleared out their lockers and headed into the offseason.
Bill O'Brien not ruling out new play caller
When asked if he thought about changing the play calling duties for the offense the Texans head coach didn't explicitly state change would or wouldn't happen. He did say it would be looked at by the team.
"I think at the end of the year we evaluate everything," he said. "Obviously, we just ended yesterday. But, we'll take a look at everything. We always try to make the best decisions in the best interest of winning. Like I said after the game, I think we have a very good future here. A lot of things to fix, but like I said, we'll take a look at everything."
Plenty of people would tell O'Brien he needs to give up the play calling to someone else. It doesn't seem likely O'Brien, who passed those duties to George Godsey years ago and took them back after his firing, would again give up the headset and the play sheet.
Quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan has gotten looks as an offensive coordinator before so perhaps he would be a in-house option. Anyone outside the organization forces the team to adjust to their philosophy and has to get along with O'Brien and Watson who already seemingly have a strong bond.
Like O'Brien said, it should certainly be evaluated.
Clowney's future is here
Jadeveon Clowney is a free agent but the impending payday isn't on his mind.
"I ain't thinking about that right now," Clowney said. " Just trying to soak in us losing this game right here. That's what I've been thinking about I haven't been thinking about that."
He said he was really upset with the loss to the Colts and it hurt his perception of the season. Clowney mentioned he thought they had four games left coming into the playoffs, meaning playing in the Super Bowl, and could have done something special.
He did discuss his thoughts on next season though.
"I promise to the Texans, and whoever else is watching, I'm going to be a much better and improved player next season."
Clowney said he went to sleep and woke up thinking about how he can be "much better" player and he hasn't even thought about a contract. He said he was worrying about his craft and he's focused on what's ahead.
When he was asked about potentially being franchise tagged by the Texans and his feeling Clowney brushed it off.
"We'll talk about that when it comes," said Clowney. "I'm going to worry about getting better. If I'm here, somewhere else."
He went on to say the business side getting settled would make him very comfortable and help him take care of his family. He then said he wanted to play the rest of his career with the Texans after spending five years with the team.
Romeo's return expected
Bill O'Brien said he expects defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to return next season. He didn't elaborate, nor did he spend many words confirming the veteran coach's future.
The Texans finished 12th in total defense but 28th in pass defense. Their ability to stop rushing attacks was clear, finishing third in the league. O'Brien wasn't happy with the team's play on third down; they were ranked 20th allowing just over a 40 percent conversion rate. They were 11th in sacks with 43 sacks of opposing quarterbacks.
Crennel did help turn in the team's best takeaway statistic since they led the league in 2014. The Texans had 29 takeaways, up from 16 the year before and good for the fourth best mark in the league.
John Pagano is on the defensive staff as a senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach. He previously was the defensive coordinator for the Raiders in 2017 and the Chargers from 2012-2016. If Crennel's return became uncertain there's a chance Pagano could take over for the Texans.
Changes coming at cornerback?
Bill O'Brien made a comment that stood out when he was asked about having a franchise quarterback and not having to look for one anymore.
In listing elements of a successful team O'Brien mentioned "you need corners that can play man" as in man defense. The Texans use a lot of zone with the cornerbacks and the skills of their current defensive backs don't lend itself to playing man coverage.
The Texans have three picks in the first two rounds and will have plenty of money to spend in free agency as well. While people will be focused on the offensive line, the cornerbacks ended up being a weak point on this team as well. Injuries certainly played a part, but even when healthy, they underwhelmed.
Kevin Johnson said he is cleared and ready to get to work as he is under contract for next season. Kareem Jackson is a pending free agent. Aaron Colvin was a big free agent addition this season but injuries derailed him even further after his slow start to the year.
"He's a good guy. He worked hard," O'Brien said. "He was injured in the first Colts game, and I think that was a tough injury. Not to make an excuses for him, but tough one to come back from. It was an ankle injury and it just – I'm not sure that he every fully recovered from it. I don't want to speak for him, but we just felt like at the end of the day, we went with the 46 guys that we felt were the healthiest and the most ready to go."
Loaded with opportunity
The Texans have three picks in the top two rounds and are scheduled to have over $65 million in money so spend on free agency. There is a need for improvement on the offensive line and above we mentioned the cornerbacks as well. For many who want wholesale changes on the offensive line, remember this Bill O'Brien quote when free agency rolls around.
"I don't think you want to build it through free agency," said the head coach. "That's my personal belief. You want to build it through the draft so you can mold the guys. I don't think you want to bring in a bunch of free agents. These are decision that we have to make and these are decisions that we are going to be talking about daily."
O'Brien already has two free agents on his offensive line with guards Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete. He had a big free agent addition at cornerback fail him. They have plenty of players to decide on with Jadeveon Clowney and Tyrann Mathieu among others being free agents. That being said, they will have some needs they can address with the money in free agency and should use it.
Training camp roads bring them back home
The Texans will return to Houston for training camp after spending the past two camps in West Virginia practicing at The Greenbrier. Bill O'Brien didn't confirm it, saying it would be a discussion with Cal McNair, but that it was "trending that way" when it comes to late July.
Luka Doncic had 41 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and the Dallas Mavericks prevented the Houston Rockets from advancing to the quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament with a 121-115 victory on Tuesday night.
Kyrie Irving added 22 of his 27 points in the second half for the Mavericks, who had already been eliminated. Their victory allowed the New Orleans Pelicans to win Group B in the Western Conference with a 3-1 record.
Doncic fell just short of his 59th career triple-double. That would have tied him for ninth place all-time with Larry Bird. He shot 15 of 29, 3 of 10 on 3-pointers.
“Sometimes we take him for granted, and we shouldn’t,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s about winning, but it just so happens he’s a walking triple-double.
”The Mavericks, who trailed by nine points in the third quarter, grabbed the lead for good at 99-98 with 6:25 to play on a drive by Irving. Leading 103-100 with 5:25 left, they went on an 8-2 run that included three free throws by Derrick Jones Jr. when he was fouled by Dillon Brooks on a 25-footer with the shot clock about to expire.
Jabari Smith Jr.’s 3-pointer with 8 seconds left pulled the Rockets within 119-115 before Dallas closed it out.
Doncic played after sustaining a low-grade sprain of his left thumb on his non-shooting hand early in Saturday’s game. He wore a wrap on the thumb.
Doncic made a hook shot from the free throw line after recovering a loose ball near the baseline.
“I’m 2 for 2 in my career on the hooks,” Doncic said, saying the other came while playing for the Slovenian national team against Sweden.
Irving shot 2 for 11 in the first half, 1 for 5 on 3-pointers, with no free-throw attempts. He was 6 for 11 in the second half, hitting 1 of 2 behind the arc, and sank all nine free throws.
“I told the team, ‘Played well enough to win, not smart enough to win,’” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “We were extra-aggressive, especially at the end of the third quarter. Had multiple players make a few dumb fouls, put Kyrie at the line and got him going when he didn’t have a lot going. You can be aggressive, obviously, but slapping somebody on a 3-point shot on the arm is an unintelligent play. It has nothing to do with aggression.”
Alperen Sengun had a season-best 31 points for the Rockets, who had six scorers in double figures. Fred VanVleet had 10 points and 12 assists.
The Rockets have lost all six of their road games this season. They went into play leading the NBA by allowing an average of 104.4 points per game.
The Mavericks didn’t use the specially built court for either of their home tournament games, citing dissatisfaction with the quality.
Rockets: Will finish a back-to-back at Denver on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Host Memphis on Friday.