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Red Zone Play: Be The Best Offensive Coordinator You Can Be

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Is Houston’s offense really the best it can be?

South Dakota State v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We’ve all heard it, read it, seen it ad nausea. “I’m just trying to be the best (insert role) I can be.” When guys like J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, and Jadeveon Clowney are at their best, they’re game-changers. When guys like Greg Mancz, C.J. Fiedorowicz and D.J. Reader are at their best, they help the team a long way.

When any of those guys aren’t at their best, the impact is felt in their particular area. They only affect that segment of the game.

When there is no offensive coordinator to be his best, it really contradicts that culture. When Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is the offensive coordinator and his best isn’t good enough, what needs to change?

In the three complete seasons Bill O’Brien has been the best coach he can be, Houston’s total offense has gone from:

Middle of the pack (14th in total offense in 2014)

to

Middle of the bottom (22nd in 2015)

to

Battling for worst place (29th in 2016).

After two games of the 2017 season, Houston is in 29th place yet again.

Sure, the Texans have gone 9-7 three straight seasons and actually won a playoff game last year (arguably primarily due to the broken leg of Raiders QB Derek Carr), but the pattern here is pretty obvious. The longer Bill O’Brien is in charge of Houston’s offense, the more offensive it becomes. Saying George Godsey was to blame is ridiculous, as Godsey was O’Brien’s right hand man, acting in lockstep with what O’Brien wanted.

Rumors have swirled for the last year or two that O’Brien is simply using the Texans as a stepping stone to get back to the Patriots’ staff as the heir apparent to Bill Belichick. Other rumors say that he and Texans general manager Rick Smith don’t get along despite numerous public statements to the contrary.

In the end, what isn’t a rumor is that the math doesn’t add up.

One “Offensive Genius/QB Guru” + “Decaying Offensive Performance” + “NINE Starting Quarterbacks in Less Than 3.5 Years” = “Something’s Not Right”.

What can be done? What’s the fix? Fire Bill O’Brien and start over? Doing so in the middle of a season historically has bad results. Fire the offensive coordinator? Can’t do that since the last OC was already fired. How about bring in a competent OC? Someone who actually has knowledge of the system O’Brien (tries) to run. Someone who already has a working relationship with the other “Patriots South” members of the coaching staff.

Charlie Weis is sitting at home last I checked. While his head coaching career hasn’t been spectacular, as an offensive coordinator, Weis has three Super Bowl rings. Oh, and Weis is the one who installed the offensive system in New England that O’Brien later learned and is now trying (unsuccessfully) to run in Houston.

After that, guys like Norv Turner, Chip Kelly and Rich Gannon all know how to score points and might be enticed to join the Texans on the right deal.

However, chances are none of that will happen. The offense will continue to struggle, Houston will land in the 7-9 to 9-7 range again this season and Bill O’Brien will be let go at the end of the year. After that, a new regime will take over, but no quality coaching candidate will want to inherit the draft mess and gaping roster holes Houston has looming in the upcoming offseason. Cue the “J.J. Watt’s Career Was Wasted” theme song, complete with Deshaun Watson joining a “Where Are They Now?” reality sitcom with RGIII and Vince Young.

Instead of looking at that train wreck waiting to happen, pick up the phone and call Charlie Weis. If nothing else, the “Bill Belichick versus his entire ex-staff” storylines should make the playoffs interesting, and having a new OC join early in the season buys time for another year of the O’Brien/Smith Dog and Pony Show.

Thankfully, amidst all that’s wrong with Houston football, the Astros clinched their division to give us some hope of a fabled championship coming home to H-Town. I wonder if A.J. Hinch can run a Erhardt-Perkins offense?

What do you think? Who would you hire to fill the vacant OC role?