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Houston Texans Not Benching Brock Osweiler

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Fans may have seen enough to want to move on as Brock Osweiler struggles, but Bill O’Brien has not considered benching him....yet. Join the conversation on Battle Red Blog.

NFL: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
“Patience, young grasshopper”
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s pretty simple to understand the emotions fueling fans. They just want a team they can be proud of in any sport they follow. Texans fans had a very rare and brief taste of success at the quarterback position during the peak of Matt Schaub’s tenure in Houston. Although the Texans’ defense wasn’t up to snuff until 2011, Schaub led the NFL in passing yards in 2009 and was solid until he fell apart in 2013. Prior to Schaub’s arrival, fans watched David Carr set NFL records for being sacked and saw a fledgling expansion team flail aimlessly season after season.

The rapid decline of Schaub’s performance brought the franchise crashing down to new lows and resulted in the dismissal of Gary Kubiak, Wade Phillips, and many other coaches. This ushered in the Bill O’Brien era, and with it came a renewed sense of hope that a quick turnaround would put the Texans back on track to pursue a championship, fueled by the mysterious and magical vapors of a successful coaching system sourced from the Patriots in New England.

Three years into the O’Brien Era has given fans plenty of reason to cheer for one of the best defenses in the league, led by one of the NFL’s best players in J.J. Watt. It also gave fans plenty of reasons to boo as a turnstile of journeymen struggled under center. When the Texans slammed down a $78 $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed to snatch Brock Osweiler from the clutches of the Denver Broncos, many fans were convinced that he would finally be the missing link to bring Houston the team they have been waiting for since 2002.

Seven games into Osweiler’s Houston career, patience is running thin with fans and the media as Brock struggles to lead a completely revamped offense.

This article from NFL.com includes several depressing points:

Brock Osweiler has led the fewest touchdown drives of any starting quarterback this season. In the Texans' Monday night loss at Denver, the former Broncos signal-caller posted one of the lowest single-game yards-per-attempt figures in modern NFL history.

It's no surprise that O'Brien is resistant to change. More than any organization in the league, the Texans invested heavily in their offense this past offseason, using salary-cap space and draft capital to acquire Lamar Miller, Will Fuller, Braxton Miller and offensive-line help.

Osweiler was supposed to be the pièce de résistance, coaxed away from Denver and billed as the franchise savior with $37 million in guarantees. After hearing raves from O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith at Osweiler's introductory press conference in March, venerable Houston Chronicle columnist John McClain hailed the new quarterback's arrival as the biggest free agent signing in Houston since 1984 when the Oilers signed CFL legend Warren Moon away from the Edmonton Eskimos.

For all of those resources poured into the offense, though, Osweiler's attack has been a severe downgrade from the talent-starved smoke-and-mirrors show run by Brian Hoyer last season. The new quarterback has yet to demonstrate the accuracy, field vision, pocket movement and delivery of a franchise player. Of the 34 starting QBs graded by Pro Football Focus this season, he ranks dead last.

All that being said, the Texans have to insist on patience to see this through. You don’t drop that kind of coin on a quarterback to give up this soon. As fans, we’ll have to be patient to see if Osweiler can perform better as players get more comfortable with this system. It’s clear that 2016 is going to be a painful year of development for the Houston Texans to build for the future.

Patience and understanding will be in short supply if things don’t improve marginally each week going forward, though there is some consolation in considering that the Texans’ offense also faced three of the best defenses in the NFL in their road losses to the Patriots, Vikings and Broncos.

Hang in there, Texans fans. We’ve been through worse, and there’s always a chance that Brock starts developing as he climbs to a ceiling that allows this franchise to exceed expectations.

GO TEXANS!