High atop the scenic Houston skyline, the best (read: worst) minds in the history of this column have come together to offer scientifically proven answers on how to fix what's broken.
Repairing the damage Hurricane Harvey wrought on the great city of Houston will take time, effort and perseverence - something Texans have in spades. But everyone needs a little distraction from time to time, so the fine folks in the penthouse of 1000 Battle Red Boulevard have spent a few dozen seconds in between puffs of Cuban cigars and sips of 30-year old scotch to fix the offense of your Houston Texans before getting back to the real work at hand.
This week’s question: What Would You Do To Improve the Texans’ Offensive Production?
I would bench Jeff Allen for either Greg Mancz or David Quessenberry. Allen is lazy, he doesn't hit, and he can't get to the second level.
Then I would use a time machine, stop the C.J. Fiedorowicz and Jay Prosch re-signings, and give Duane Brown a raise to $10 million a year, or whatever I could do to get him back.
Ryan Griffin would be used as a playside blocker as little as possible; that way, Lamar Miller can actually cut outside on outside zone plays. I would stop shoving Miller down the middle to stop transmogrifying him into Alfred Blue.
I don't think the Texans’ passing game is going to be good no matter what. Tom Savage needs to play for Oakland to have success. He needs great skill players and a ton of time to throw. Once there is any rush, or he needs to get past his first read, he has problems. With Savage, the only way I could see it improving if they go back to the 2015 offense where the Texans isolate DeAndre Hopkins on the outside as much as possible. Even then, Deshaun Watson should be the starting quarterback instead.
How about sending Lamar Miller on outside runs? You know, just for a laugh? Or maybe we lobby to make field goals worth 11 points instead of three?
A different offensive coordinator.
This Texans’ offense is so utterly woeful that it can’t succeed without some schematic changes. The changes we had hoped would occur once Bill O'Brien replaced George Godsey have not occurred. In fact, the Texans appear to have actively regressed under BOB's guidance of the offense. Large portions of that are due to terrible QB play, but quite a hefty chunk of it falls of O'Brien to try and find a way to succeed. Has he used Lamar Miller or DeAndre Hopkins to the best of their abilities? Probably not. This offense needs a good QB to function. That's obvious. If it can't get that, you've got to ask yourself if everything is being done to help and improve the offense. I honestly think it's not.
-Start Deshaun Watson and adjust the offense around his strengths. Work that short passing game.
-Move Hopkins all over the place.
-Use Lamar Miller properly, but give D'Onta Foreman EVERY opportunity to be "the guy" if his play/practice warrant it.
-Put your best five best offensive linemen out there regardless of contract or status. It's hard for me to grasp how Greg Mancz was solid last year as a center, yet that can't translate into unseating Allen at guard. I know they're different positions, but Allen so far is not just regular bad; he's extra strength.
Jeff "Extra-Strength BAD" Allen. LOL! He shall be known as “ESB” from this day forth.
I would sign Duane Brown to an extension and get him in the building as soon as possible. If the Texans think they are going to have any semblance of a deep passing game with Kendall Lamm as their left tackle, they are sorely mistaken. This offense will only go as far as their offensive line allows them to go, and right now their best offensive lineman is not even in the building. The sooner they sign Brown, the better.
Beyond that, throw the ball more to Lamar Miller. He's a very talented running back in space, but it seems like the team always forgets to actually use him in space. Give him some screens, some angle routes, and split him out wide. The more he touches the ball outside the hashes, the more big plays he's going to generate for this unit.
1. Hire a true offensive coordinator and install a system that is far less complicated than the one that we have witnessed the last three seasons. Well, too late for that now, with less than a few days to go until Game One.
2. Rework Duane Brown's contract to provide $10 million guaranteed of the $20 million he is set to make over the remainder of the contract (two years).
3. Start Watson at QB and let him develop quickly in a scheme (see Point No. 1) that plays to his strengths—play-action, etc.
I have a really hard time understanding the logic here by the Texans. They are willing to (stubbornly) field a lesser offense by locking horns with Duane Brown, who is very likely just looking for more guaranteed money to protect himself in the event of injury at this stage of his career (a very common situation for proven vets), yet they are not willing to field a (potentially) lesser offense by getting their new shiny QB of the future some much needed experience?!!
To quote Quint from the movie Jaws: [singing] "Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders to sail back to Boston [winks at O'Brien]. And so never more shall we see you again."
Stop trying to force the players to match a scheme that doesn’t work. Figure out how to use the tools in the toolbox to get the job done instead of trying to use a scalpel as a hammer. The Texans’ offense made a living on sweeps, pitches and bootlegs under Gary Kubiak. Now it’s almost as if they’ve tossed those ideas out of the playbook simply to not be like Kubes.
And stop acting like any fool who weighs more than 250 lbs. can play offensive lineman. Pay Duane Brown, fire Jeff Allen, land another quality offensive lineman or two, and follow the template Super Bowl champions have followed for decades. The battle is won in the trenches. Hopefully, Rick Smith doesn’t follow his SOP, cut Duane Brown, and replace him with someone half as good for 95% of the pay.
My complete and full answer: Fire the offensive coordinator.
Get Deshaun Watson in there. He adds a dimension to the offense that Tom Savage simply can’t, and that’s not a knock on Savage. With as questionable as Houston’s offensive line is likely going to look—especially at tackle—the Texans are going to need Watson’s ability to keep plays alive with his feet, to make something out of nothing when the protection breaks down.
It’d be rough going for sure, particularly early as Watson adjusts to facing starting NFL defenses. But the guy has flourished, and relatively quickly at that, at every level at which he’s played. I’m willing to bet on him.
What do you think? Have a better idea? Now’s your chance to audition for the opening at BRB offensive coordinator. Fill us in on your battle plan in the comments section. Just try not to be offensive...