Every-Thing Sports

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

Houston Texans/Facebook

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.

Friday the 13th. Triskaidekophobes' worst nightmare. It's silliness. Like believing in the Texans as Super Bowl contenders.

So how did the Texans go from toppling the 10-1 Patriots one Sunday, to having the 4-8 Broncos humiliate them the next? That is what mediocrity is all about, Houston Texans style. Imagine how ugly it would have gotten had the Broncos not had to deal with the intimidation factor of playing under a closed roof on a gorgeous autumn afternoon. There was a surprising number of no shows for an 8-4 home team off of two quality wins. Coincidence? Certainly not entirely. Ticket holders who opted to stay away joined essentially the entire team in no-showing.

With their record 8-5 the odds still favor the Texans making the playoffs. Winning two of the remaining three games does the job (and secures other one of those cute little AFC South Champion banners!). Of course, the odds favored the Texans not trailing 31-3 at home at halftime to a Broncos' team that hadn't scored more than 24 points in any game all season. Winning one to finish 9-7 could mean a Wild Card. Yippee!

They are only three point underdogs at Tennessee Sunday. If the Texans' feeble pass rush can't pick it up the Texans' D figures to be D-stroyed again. Ryan Tannehill's career revival with the Titans has been astounding. What reasonable person would have believed that entering this game Tannehill would be playing better quarterback than Deshaun Watson over the last month? Defending Derrick Henry's power running is a big problem, and that has made Tannehill devastating in the play action passing game. Good chance the Texans will need to score more than 28 points to win. They last did so eight games ago in their 31-24 victory at Kansas City. The Titans look like the better team right now, but week to week in the NFL who knows.

As I put it on the radio show earlier this week, in an either or scenario which would you prefer: the Texans do win their division, maybe win a wild card weekend home game, and if they do then take a shot at not getting crushed at Baltimore again. OR…the Texans lose twice to the Titans, lose in Tampa, tumbling from 8-4 to an 8-8 playoff miss and Cal McNair decides to fire Bill O'Brien?

Tough spell for Astros

Given that Oakland wasn't a possibility, Gerrit Cole picking the Yankees is the Astros' worst case scenario. If you're thinking nine years 324 million dollars is nuts, of course nine years is crazy long, but the Yankees are a money printing machine. Forbes magazine estimate for 2018 had the Yankees generating roughly 300 million dollars more in revenue than did the Astros.

Another bottom line: with Cole the Yankees are markedly better, without him the Astros are markedly worse.

The Astros are in a payroll bind, hence the trade Carlos Correa rumblings. In isolation, trading Correa would be dumb. Yes he has proven brittle. But Correa is also super-talented, 25 years old, and for two more years in Major League Baseball terms, dirt cheap. Trade Correa for what? A desperate play to escape the 13 million dollar anvil that is Josh Reddick's 2020 contract? Offered for nothing in return the Astros have no takers for Reddick. As a must take in a Correa deal, Reddick would drive down the return the Astros could get.

The Astros would be seeking a cheap, multi-years team-controlled stud young starting pitcher for Correa. They're not getting one for him. Guys like the Dodgers' Walker Buehler, the Cardinals' Jack Flaherty, the Braves Mike Siroka, the Indians Shane Bieber, those teams wouldn't swap their guy for Correa straight up. They'd laugh at an Astro offer of Correa and Reddick. Reds' starter Luis Castillo's name has been thrown against the wall. He's had one really good full big league season. At 27 years old, Castillo isn't eligible for arbitration until 2021. Why would the Reds trade him for Correa who can walk as a free agent after the 2021 season? Mets starter Noah Syndegaard? Probably not available, and he can become a free agent the same time as Correa.

It's always easy to burn someone else's money, but the Astros' best play is keeping Correa and swallowing the Reddick 13 mil if necessary, rather than taking 70 cents on the dollar back in a trade. Jim Crane and his partners can make back any loss in profit margin during this Astros' window of excellence by cutting costs when the next rebuilding time comes around and/or by selling the team down the line for several times the 610 million dollars they paid to buy it.

Buzzer Beaters

1. If you can get a ticket, UH-Oklahoma St. at Fertitta Center is the place to be Sunday afternoon. 2. The NBA has captivated very few around here so far this season, but the relentlessness of James Harden's scoring pace (37.6 points per game) is stupefying. 3. Absurd actual phobias: Bronze-Somniphobia, fear of sleep Silver-Cherophobia, fear of happiness Gold-Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth


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