The Texans were obliterated yesterday. Nobody should care. It doesn’t matter at all.
The season has been over since Deshaun Watson tore his knee up. The defense wasn’t built to be able to survive devastating injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. It was dependent on the front seven since the secondary was weaker. A.J. Bouye left for Jacksonville, Johnathan Joseph is a year older, Kareem Jackson isn’t a good cover corner at all, and even more surprising, Kevin Johnson has been awful this year. Houston couldn’t be a team that could run the ball and play defense to win games without Watt and Mercilus. After their injuries they became a team led by their passing offense. Without Watson, they no longer could do that either.
These last months of football aren’t a surprise. This is a bad football team without Watson, Watt, Mercilus, and all those others. They can’t pass block long enough for terrible quarterbacks to survive, they don’t have a pass rusher aside from Jadeveon Clowney, they can’t cover, they can’t run block well enough to control the game on the ground, and they have one wide receiver. Playing run defense is the only thing they can do well.
So when Houston gets blown out by Jacksonville, when they have four wins entering week 16, there shouldn’t be any emotional attachment to it. This was all very easy to see once Watson went down, and it’s hilarious how predictable and exact things went. Because this ended up being the results shouldn’t make anyone upset, or angry. Nothing really matters, and this doesn’t especially. Shoot this season into sun. Give it another shot next year. Do other things with your time. All of these past weeks were a waste, and nothing more than a tribal obligation.
That's not even the full injured reserve list. You could point to any and all of those injuries to explain why the Texans find themselves in the hole they're in. I also have zero doubt in my mind that Bob McNair will point to these injuries as a reason for why he's bringing everybody back for next season.
But the secondary is still mostly intact. The offensive line is, until Nick Martin got hurt today, mostly unscathed. Both of these units are fatal flaws to this team. For all Deshaun Watson's sorcery on the field, his ability to score touchdowns could not hide the secondary getting burned during two game winning drives for opposing teams. The offensive line has more holes in it than my socks, leading to significant injuries to our top two quarterbacks. T.J. Yates was plucked off the street just before last week's game against the Niners and looks every bit the equal to the quarterback who's been developing under Bill O'Brien's tutelage for four (4!) years.
As BFD pointed out in HotD, 10 of the 22 starters on the team were on the field today, and their inability to play at least competent football is a big, big problem.
If, after 10 years, this team is the best Rick Smith can do, I am not impressed. If, after four years, this level of player development is the best Bill O'Brien and his coaching staff can accomplish, I am not impressed.
But none of this will likely matter as Bob McNair will keep everyone on because what does he care, he's still making money for substandard performance on the field.
I am not impressed with any of this. And if anyone out there is impressed with what they've seen over the last few years that would make them say "we need to bring these guys back for another season," then tell me what the hell I'm missing. Don't point to injuries, don't point to Deshaun Watson saying "he's my coach" as a rationale, don't even point to BOB tossing his super genius system for the system Dabo Swinney ran in Clemson, don't point to all the first round picks that Rick Smith has hit on while ignoring all the 2nd-7th round misses he's racked up. Because this "partnership" between them is not working.
Furthermore, I consider that Bill O'Brien, Rick Smith, and their staff must be fired.
Going into this season, there were glaring concerns by fans and media analysts about the offensive line and defensive secondary for Houston. The Texans' GM apparently didn't have those concerns, and he gets paid a great deal of money to "know" about those things.
We could easily dismiss any losing game to the long list of injured star players on the roster, but those two units fielded their starting players and contributed to the biggest failures on the field in most games, highlighted in flames by the two blowouts by Jacksonville this season.
The team record, advanced stats, and the "eye test" are all converging on the obvious, and Houston fans can only do what they have done since 2002: wait for "next year."
While the Rockets and Astros look really competitive for the foreseeable future, it doesn't satisfy the demand for competitive professional football in H-town. Good luck to Mr. McNair in solving this issue.
The Glitter Kitties of Jacksonville outscored the Houston Texans 74-14 this year. From a talent standpoint alone, this is a really big deal.
It's clear the power source of the AFC South is now, unquestionably, the Glitter Kitties. Even when healthy, the Jaguars have more top to bottom talent in addition to being deeper. Adding salt to the wound, Blake Bortles has evolved into a semi-competent game manager. When you consider that the vast majority of Bill O'Brien's success has been in punching down on teams like the Jags, things look even more bleak for the Texans, Deshaun Watson or not.
Worst of all, the Texans need major talent infusions in the secondary, offensive line, and TE positions at a minimum. Of those, which comprise 10 total positions (CB1, CB2, CB3 [FBs aren't people and don't count], FS, SS, LT, RT, RG, LG, and TE1), that's almost half the freaking starting roster that needs addressing. Best case scenario is that we can make the incremental upgrades over three seasons, especially because of our draft pick situation next year. In the meantime, we've missed J.J. Watt's prime, Whitney Mercilus passes the 30 year old milestone, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph are certainly gone, and who knows what the bloody kitten will happen with injuries.
Who fixes this? Rick Smith? Wishful thinking? Blind faith in BOB (LOLOLOL!)?
After 2013, I had some level of optimism as it was a fluky bad year, but the team was still loaded with playoff caliber talent. Now? We have a team with roster problems everywhere, is aging quickly, doesn't have sweet draft picks in 2018, and has kitteny coordinators on all three sides of the ball.
If mediocrity is your bag, this is your team, baby. At least it will be fun watching Watson run for his life and still make plays on a weekly basis.
Yet again this team's secondary was exposed, fittingly against the Jaguars who are now trotting out AJ Bouye, one of the top corners in the league by any measure. The Jaguars are simply the class of this division and I don't think the addition of a healthy Deshaun Watson really changes that - though it certainly narrows the gap. On a day where nothing worked for the Texans, parsing specific issues on offense and defense seems like a waste. The offensive line was terrible - but a lot of lines struggle against Jacksonville. Plus, TJ Yates is your QB. My bigger concern (this week) is with the defense. Mike Vrabel seems in over his head. I understand there are injuries, but there are just so many situations where the team seems to make dumb mistakes it didn't make nearly as often under Romeo Crennel. All of this, and of course the Vrabel end-of-half defense continues to expose its soft underbelly every single week.
2017 is a dark, unending sadness for football in Houston.