I love Gary Kubiak. I really do. Yes, he fell just short in Houston, and his Super Bowl victory was really Son of Bum's, but I still love Gary Kubiak.
When Kubiak benched Brock Osweiler in place of a historically awful Peyton Manning, it was truly a slap in the face to Brock. It also had to put you on notice as, if there's one thing Kubiak truly excels at, it's in quarterback evaluation.
I was one of the few who didn't want Osweiler from the beginning, though I at least understood the why. Osweiler's throwing mechanics are an absolute disaster throughout. Once he started facing pressure, every aspect of his throws, from the footwork to the wind-up to the release to the downfield accuracy, seemed to get worse with every game. Fortunately, the Brock Osweiler Era is over in Houston.
As far as the deal, props to Rick Smith for pulling it off. It's not great that we have to trade a second round pick to have somebody else pay for Brock, but it fits nicely into the "win now" mode we're very clearly in. And due credit to Cleveland for making this deal, one that was an absolute no-brainer for a franchise that needs to collect talent.
But who the kitten was responsible for signing Osweiler in the first place? As nice as it is to divest ourselves from one of the all-time greatest free agent busts in NFL history, Brock is still...one of the all time greatest free agent busts in NFL history. The result of signing him in the first place means we kicked the can down the QB solution road yet another year. Totes obvs, the result is a net negative for the Houston Texans.
Now, our best hope at QB for 2017 seems to be riding on the broken back of a 37-year old Tony Romo, who has managed just five (5) appearances the last two years.
Romo is both my most terrifying replacement and my favorite at the same time. He's terrifying because do you really think he's not going to get injured? He's my favorite because his ability to ad lib after the snap would hopefully negate Bill O'Brien's offensive offensive game-planning.
At this point, that's neither here nor there. Brock Osweiler is gone, and that's a good thing.
Around this time last year when the Texans signed Brock Osweiler, I was excited that they took a shot in free agency, and a big one at that. It meant the team wouldn't be trotting Brian Hoyer out there. It meant that they were not standing pat at the quarterback position. It meant they were boldly attempting to upgrade. It meant that they were serious about competing for a championship.
When Brock struggled early in the season, I hoped that things would settle down and he'd rise to meet or exceed expectations. However, after two-thirds of the season, I realized this was all really a mistake, and a big one at that. It was hard to take as a fan, because I just assume that there are really smart people working for Bob McNair who can properly evaluate talent before making commitments costing tens of millions of dollars. Sure, it's challenging to project what quarterbacks in college will do once they get to the NFL, but there was a decent amount of film of Brock playing in NFL games. How did they not see those horrific throwing mechanics and staring down receivers?
The news today that he was traded to free up $10 million in cap space and $16 million in cash was an incredibly unexpected positive development. The Texans gave up a second-round pick next year, which is likely closer to being a third-round pick, as well as a sixth-round pick this year, which is almost a seventh-round pick. Houston receives the first pick in the fourth-round this year from the Browns, which is one selection away from being a third-round pick. So next year's second and this year's fourth are likely 33-ish selections apart in value. That's not bad at all; they almost cancel each other out. It means that the Texans essentially spent a sixth -round pick to free up cap space THIS season. It means the Texans recognize the narrow window they likely have with this top defense and that they are serious about contending for a championship NOW.
I'm glad they took a shot with Brock, and I'm glad they unloaded him swiftly when it was obvious it wasn't going to work. I'd like to see better talent evaluations from this organization, but at least they are making "big boy" decisions in running this franchise.
What it means to me is that even if the Texans are not great at evaluating quarterbacks, at least they have played enough bad ones to pull the plug on incompetence when they see it. So, that in and of itself is to be applauded. Several organizations are not quite as fortunate.
I will hold the rest of my evaluation until the full process plays out (as of this writing no QB move has been completed), but the only real way I can see this backfiring is if the Texans come up short on a trade up target at QB because they are missing the draft capital.
He’s just getting warmed up, folks:
There was a showing of the Oscar Wilde play ''The Importance of Being Ernest'' that I recently went to. The play revolves around two mens’ double lives and their attempt to ''woo'' two separte women who both profess to love men with the name of Ernest (which neither of the two gentlemen is named). So in order to convince the women to marry them, they both adopt identities and go by the name of Ernest in order to achieve this.
Brock was our Ernest. Not deceiving us into thinking he was Ernest, but him actually being Ernest to us. He looked like an Ernest (tall, big bodied, everything a prototypical QB should be). We were thrilled, thinking he just might be OUR Ernest. The problem was he turned out to be nothing more than an ordinary John, and that's okay. I'm just getting all sentimental because I'll forever remember that Bears game and some of those throws. I'll remember the GIFs he gave us. I'll remember the brief instances of hope that were quickly snuffed out by a QB who couldn't fling the ball more than ten yards without it traveling into the hands of an opposing player.
Brock’s departure was the open admittance of something that had become more and more obvious to all who watched him over the past season. Rather than dwelling on the failure, there was a practical response, and that is something that this franchise has often struggled with doing. It's nice. It's still a failure, and there is still a sense of responsibility of that failure brings. As of this writing, we don't know the final destination of Mr. Smith's Wild Ride. But today was a good practical response to a problem. I'll take that positive over everything else right now.
Going into the offseason, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would have to sit through one more year of Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback of the Houston Texans. I accepted it in much the same way a person would have to accept having Stage Four ball cancer. Then what happened today happened.
If you were to list all the probable actions the Texans would have taken going into the offseason with regard to the starting quarterback situation, with "Osweiler starts in 2017" as the most likely thing to happen, what transpired today would have ranked just ahead of the Texans training the bear at Hermann Park Zoo (I assume they have a bear) to play quarterback and starting HIM next year...but not by much.
I'm glad they did it because it means they're serious on Kirby Drive about winning now; that’s a sentiment which until now I had not truly believed they felt, based solely on their inability to find/develop a quarterback.
I am also stunned beyond belief that Rick Smith found someone to take on the albatross that is Brock Osweiler's contract. I still do not think Rick Smith is a great general manager, but I will absolutely give him credit for being able to clean up bad contracts/situations. Think back on all the times when the Texans had players who had outlived their usefulness to the team, where everyone and their mother thought said players were going to be cut as quickly as possible, because who could possibly want these guys? Somehow, Rick Smith has managed to squeeze a few drops of blood from these rocks. Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates, Keshawn Martin, all of them netted the Texans at least a middle or late round trade pick.
That being said, this does not excuse Smith, nor Bill O'Brien, nor Bob McNair, nor Cal McNair from getting the Texans into a situation where they had to sell their second round pick in 2018 to be rid of Brock Osweiler once and for all. I commend them for making the effort to find the next big thing at starting quarterback, but, man oh man, did they swing and miss.
Now that the best quarterback on our team is Tom Savage, I look forward to seeing who the Texans manage to bring in during this free agency saga. With a good quarterback, the Texans are poised to be dominant next year. Here's hoping that the Brain Trust finally gets the quarterback we've been searching for.
HAPPY OSWEILERIAN LIBERATION DAY, EVERYBODY!!
We all make mistakes. Sometimes they're as small as putting the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the pantry. Other times they involve signing an unproven quarterback to the biggest contract in franchise history only to see him stumble, bumble and fumble his way to Jamarcus Russellville with your cash raining from his pockets.
What sets the men apart from the boys is the ability to acknowledge those mistakes, suck up your pride, and do what it takes to correct them. Yesterday, Rick Smith did just that by sending Brock off to The Land Where Quarterbacks Go To Die. While I'm still not 100% convinced Brock's disastrous time in H-Town was all his fault—I mean, he did have a starring role in the most poorly managed offense I've witnessed in my 40 years of watching pro ball—it certainly wasn't all his fault.
Either way, seeing the news that Brock was off to Ohio sent a roar through my workplace with guys everywhere celebrating and high-fiving. If nothing else, it's certainly medicinal for the soul of the fanbase.
Now, the real work begins. Can Tom Savage stay healthy and claim the starting job? Will Houston land Romo and can he do the same? Will Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, or one of the other incoming young guns land here and rise to level of "good enough not to throw the game away" so the rest of the team can do what they do best?
Getting rid of Brock needed to happen and kudos to Rick Smith for making it a reality. But the work has just begun and the offense has a long way to go to get to the level of average, much less championship contender.
Either way, I bet the players on the defensive side of the ball were all doing the same thing my co-workers did when they heard the news.
Now, can someone please turn us off this avenue of broken quarterback dreams? I have visions of J.J. Watt and Duane Brown kissing the Lombardi Trophy dancing in my head that need to become reality.
As long as you allow yourself to forget what caused this historically awful QB disaster in the first place, what's not to like about this move? Yes, Rick Smith was partially to blame for the Osweiler disaster in the first place, but the Texans were in a difficult spot last year regarding the QB position. Something had to be done. They took their shot and went with Osweiler. It was not just a miss, but an embarrassing airball.
That said, hooray for admitting the mistake and getting out. Sure, it costs you a second round pick, and that should not be overlooked when evaluating this deal, but Houston had to unload Brock, not just for cap space but for the good of the locker room and more specifically, the QB room. They could have weathered the dollar ramifications of designating Brock a June 1st cut and NOT giving up that second round draft pick, but this will allow them to improve the team more in the short term. I think it was the right move with a defense that should at least be really good again next year, if not one of the top units in the league.
Genius move? Nah. Great move? Eh, not so much. Necessary and shrewd? Sure, I'll give Rick that. BUT let's wait and see what they do with the additional cap space ASIDE from re-signing DeAndre Hopkins (which was going to happen either way) and what ultimately happens with the starting QB spot.
As many others have said, I applauded (and still do applaud) the Texans for taking a chance on Brock Osweiler last year. I also thought it was wise that the Texans structured the contract the way they did, ensuring that the vast majority of the dollars would hit the cap over two seasons. If Osweiler failed, they’d be able to get rid of him with considerably less pain than the $72,000,000.00 total price tag initially indicated. If Osweiler thrived, they’d be in a solid negotiating position going forward.
Osweiler failed. It happens. It wasn’t pretty, though there were moments (virtually all occurring early in the season, before teams realized they could eliminate the Texans’ downfield passing game and Will Fuller with relative ease) that Osweiler resembled what the Texans hoped they were getting. As the season progressed, the truth became clear to everyone: Brock Osweiler was very unlikely to succeed in this offense. Once that became apparent, it was just a matter of time before Brock’s time in Houston ended, and I’m thrilled to see the Texans got creative to rip the band-aid off instead of allowing it to linger for another year.
The sad fact is that if your team doesn’t have a franchise quarterback, it has to do everything it can, at all times, to find one. To the extent the Texans recognized that in 2014 and 2015, they addressed it very conservatively (I’m being kind) by employing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Mallett while only drafting Tom Savage during that time. None of those guys worked out, which spurred the team to get aggressive in 2016. That brought about Brock Osweiler.
It didn’t work out, but again, the Texans availed themselves of what they believed to be the best possible option. Even though they got burned, they have to go back to the well. From where I sit, that means acquiring Tony Romo, well documented and entirely legitimate risks and all. That’s much more likely to happen now with the additional cap space the Browns provided. Assuming the Texans do get Romo, they can’t stop there. They still have to draft a quarterback they reasonably believe could start with success in the NFL. Who that is, or in what round they’d have to take him, is in the eye of the beholder. Regardless, that has to be the plan.
With Brock Osweiler no longer a Texan, I have far more confidence that it’ll happen.