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BRB Groupthink: A Certain Someone’s Certain Job

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The masthead joins together to give their feelings about Bill O’Brien.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans blew a 24 point lead against the Kansas City Chiefs. The offense was bad. The defense was worse. The special teams were incredible until it returned the favor to Kansas City. Texans discourse right now is completely centered around the head coach. Most want him gone. Some don’t.

What do you think of Bill O’Brien? Do you want him fired? If so, when did you come to this decision and was Sunday’s collapse the final straw? If you don’t, why do you want him to stay and what do you hope he does to improve?

This is what I asked the masthead. These are our responses.

MATT WESTON:

Personally, I would have fired Bill O’Brien after the 2018 season was over. As you know, nothing we feel actually matters. O’Brien is still here. Nothing has changed except for those orbiting around him.

Everything fell apart in 2017 after Deshaun Watson went down, and so the keys returned to Tom Savage, who proceeded to drive the offense off a cliff. Never forget Bill O’Brien named Savage the starting quarterback of this team after an entire training camp and preseason. But the Texans’ offense was good enough when Watson was healthy to give O’Brien another shot.

2018 was especially frustrating. An all-time great run defense was pitted against teams that had to run the ball, not because they were especially great at it, but because it was safer than allowing their vile quarterbacks to attempt anything through the air. The Texans’ pass defense was awful. It had been for the entire season. Houston was shortsighted. Rather than spend the season practicing scoring 31 points or so to win playoff games, they did the bare minimum, won close games, and were led by their run defense.

So when it came time for the postseason, they weren’t prepared. They fell down 21-0 to Indianapolis because of T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and the Colts’ offensive line stoning their pass rush. Watson still wasn’t ready for slot corner blitzes. Nothing was open. Indy sat on their routes. The only thing the Texans’ offense could do was throw crossing routes to Keke Coutee. After falling down big, the offense operated without any urgency whatsoever. 21-0 became an insurmountable deficit. The rest of the game was a requirement.

It seemed obvious O’Brien wasn’t the guy to do much more than get Houston to the Divisional Round at that point. That’s still the case today. The best thing I can say about O’Brien is that he gets the minimum out of his team, which is more than can be said for coaches like Freddie Kitchens or Doug Marrone. The rest of the issues are still here. The clock management problems, the challenge issues, the failing end game strategies, an offense the team heavily invested in that posted a positive DVOA for the first time in O’Brien’s career (which was, let me see here, 0.3%), the blaming others and holding everyone accountable but himself, the limited offense, the games where the team comes out flat and completely unprepared. This was the end of Year Six, and the team is still struggling at the same aspects of the game. O’Brien never rebuilt the franchise. 2013 was a fluke. All he’s done is waste top end talent.

I don’t feel anything anymore when it comes to O’Brien. I don’t get riled up about his job status. I don’t care. This is my team. Those are my guys. O’Brien has pushed everyone out who can have a say in his job status, except for the owner himself, so O’Brien isn’t going anywhere. Caring about his employment status is a waste of time and energy. Until it finally happens, we’ll just have to wait or pray something miraculous happens and he finally learns the things he’s never been able to.

My guess is we’ll just have to wait.

bigfatdrunk:

BOB should have been fired after the Texans started 0-3 in 2018. He should be fired today.

I was off the BOB bandwagon not even all the way through his third season. It’s clear as day he’s not fit to be a head coach in today’s NFL, though I am sure he will get another chance or two.

”The players didn’t give up on him” trope is pure rubbish. These are professional athletes, and every game day is an audition. Quit on one team, and you might be out of the league forever (paging Tim Dobbins!).

With an offense exploding with valuable draft picks, including seven first round picks, the Texans could only climb to 17th by DVOA (just above average). BOB has relied extremely heavily on the defense in the past, one that’s now older and depleted of talent and depth.

Worst of all, as GM, he drained the team of future resources in order to make himself look good at the expense of the defense for years to come. That’s why coaches should not be GMs.

In six years, BOB was won two playoff games: one against Connor Cook, who never played another down of NFL football, and Josh Allen, a TE imitating a QB.

Two playoff wins. Six years. What more does BOB have to do to prove his incompetence?

TEXAN_REVJ:

I was an O’Brien fan until as late as last season. After being embarrassed during the Wild Card round by the Colts, I changed my mind. I think the Texans have gone as far as they can with O’Brien as the man in charge.

I believe he should be fired after the latest debacle against the Chiefs. O’Brien made it really obvious that he was going all-in this year. Depending on who you listen to, he may have gotten the GM fired and wrestled control from everyone else. It’s completely on his shoulders. The failure this year, combined with the mortgaging of the future by jettisoning picks for players, should be the last straw. Not only was he unable to get the Texans to the next level, we now have even less assets to find ways to bring in help.

All of that is bad, but the worst is that you were up 24-0 at the end of the first quarter in a playoff game and somehow got outscored in the remaining three quarters 51-7. People will make all kinds of excuses but that is entirely on coaching. Even if it’s on other coaches on his staff, Bill O’Brien is supposed to be in charge. He should have found a way to stop the bleeding. I’ll point to the other sideline as proof. Andy Reid was down 24-0 after the first quarter of a home playoff game. He was able to flip the script and the Chiefs couldn’t be stopped the rest of the afternoon. Good coaches find ways to help their team. Bill O’Brien never has and never will.

MIKE BULLOCK:

I’ve said it before and will say it again, I like Bill O’Brien. He seems like a great guy, the kind of guy you’d love to have at your backyard BBQ, or over to watch games with, the neighbor you call when you’re out of town and need someone to check on your house. But he’s the leader of a multi-million dollar, high pressure sports franchise, not the fun neighbor everyone loves.

He might be a “player’s coach” who gets guys to play, but that’s only once facet of true team leadership.

* The utter inability to take advantage of last offseason’s wealth of draft picks and cap space needs to land at his feet, whether Cal McNair fired the GM for it or not. It was long known O’Brien had a lot of say in personnel before they screwed that pooch.

* The utter inability to have the team prepared when they leave the locker room each week is inexcusable.

* The near constant misuse of challenges, game clock, and the now infamous ”I didn’t have a play ready for 4th and short.” High school coaches get fired for not having plays ready. How does a pro coach escape that one?

For quite awhile, I just thought he was a poor man’s Jon Gruden (a QB savvy, play the game close to the vest until you see what the other team is doing, then do just enough to score at least one more point than they do to win sort of coach). Gruden took the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game in his third season, and then took the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl to face the Raiders two years later. With a few lucky bounces going Oakland’s way and a few less going Houston’s way, Gruden could have been the coach getting demolished by the Chiefs last weekend. O’Brien isn’t Chucky good. That’s a major problem.

At this point, it’s become the whole definition of insanity thing. The team keeps flipping on the light switch hoping the burned out bulb will suddenly, magically light up. But it won’t. Ever.

My vote goes to cleaning house. J.J. Watt’s career has already been wasted, just like Andre Johnson’s was. Why wait to say the same thing about DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson? Pull the band-aid off, let B’OB go coach Boston College, and chalk it up to a learning experience.