Every-Thing Sports

Time for Bill O'Brien to bleep or get off the pot

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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:

Grand Poobah

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.

Deshaun Watson

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.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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