Time for Bill O'Brien to bleep or get off the pot
Sunday night, the Texans did something not many truly thought was possible: they dominated the Patriots. I know the 28-22 final score and total yardage differential aren't indicative of domination, but the eye test told a different story. As I stated in my recap of the game, Tom Brady's frustration was visible early on. A ton of credit goes to
head coach general manager grand poobah of all things Texans, Bill O'Brien (more on his new title later). The players were so excited about the win and the roll O'Brien played, they gave him the game ball. It felt good to beat Bill Belichick, especially since he gave O'Brien a shot at the NFL level of coaching. This was a big win for this organization and the fans, but there's more to do.
Sure, beating the team that has owned you is a good look, but there's more to achieve. There are several reasons why I believe O'Brien is out of excuses. Here's why I think it's time for him to bleep or get off the pot:
News came down on Sunday that the Texans won't be hiring a general manager. This essentially means O'Brien is the Grand Poobah of the Texans. The only people who are more powerful are the McNairs, and they seem OK with giving O'Brien all the stroke he needs to do whatever he feels is necessary to build a winner here. With him as the GM and head coach, he only answers to the McNairs. Bill Parcells once famously stated "If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." O'Brien now has the card, cart, and is all alone in the store.
O'Brien calls the plays, but Watson executes them. Often times when the called play goes awry, Watson improvises and makes chicken salad out of chicken bleep. His ability to extend plays is uncanny. He's enough to cover up some poor play calls and/or accentuate the good ones. O'Brien has the most key piece any grand poobah needs to succeed in football. He even calls certain plays to cater to Watson's abilities. The story about O'Brien and his coaching staff asking Watson what he felt most comfortable running and implementing those plays in his rookie year shows that he has the ability to adapt to Watson. If O'Brien wants to have continued success, Watson will play a very large part.
No one left to blame
Often times when things don't go well, people will blame others around them and absolve themselves of any responsibility. There is literally no one left for O'Brien to blame. He's now taken over the organization and holds all the keys to the kingdom. There's no Rick smith or Brian Gaine to get in his way of doing anything and everything he wants. Anybody with a seat at the table is probably too scared to say anything against him because O'Brien could have them removed. One of my favorite rappers growing up in New Orleans (B.G.) had an album in 1997 called "It's All On U" and this perfectly describes O'Brien's situation off Kirby.
Shooting his shot
After firing Gaine, O'Brien was the de facto GM. He went out and traded a motherload of draft picks for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. He also traded Jadeveon Clowney for some loosies, a case of quarter waters, a 3rd round draft pick. He then traded another pick for Gareon Conley, and later claimed Vernon Hargreaves off waivers. All these moves were made to fill holes the team has, and to clean up the messes that were made by previous personnel decisions, or lack thereof. The lack of draft capital over the next couple years makes it hard for anyone to come here and think he could turn things around quickly. He decided to go all in, now it's time to produce tangible results.
The win over the Patriots was nice, but let's see long term sustainable success. Winning the division six of the last nine years (if they hold on to win this year, which they should) is somewhat impressive, but the lack of deep playoff runs has been underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see the team in the position that they're in. However, I'm ready to see them advance beyond their current state of perennial playoff team and ascend into the realm of Super Bowl contender. The only way to do that is to consistently make AFC title games and Super Bowl appearances. That ascension rests squarely on the shoulders of O'Brien. It's time for him to lead this team to the Promised Land, or move along. Either bleep, or get off the pot.