HOUSTON, TX – It is a new and exciting time for the Houston Texans. This past Sunday, the Texans marked their first next-to-last finish of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was the first game in over six seasons where Bill O’Brien did not take the reins as Head Coach/General Manager/Imperial Grand Admiral of the Houston Texans. In many respects, the team saw a marked improvement in all three phases of the game (offense, special teams, defense) from their previous four second-place finishes.
Houston’s offense registered its highest point total of the current season (and one off its calendar year highs). The team saw its lowest sacks allowed/highest passing yards/highest rushing yards gained. Additionally, the team displayed some degree of offensive creativity. How did they manage that?
Noted Deshaun Watson, “[Tim] Kelly had a rough week. The detox from Clockwork BO’B is not an easy thing. At first, he kept instinctually wanting to call the up the middle run on first down. But Tim remembered his retraining, and called some different plays. It got better in the second half, but that tic kept showing up whenever he saw a running play. Still, he got through it. Proud of him. “
“Oh, he couldn’t abandon the occasional middle run. Ya have to run that to keep a team honest, but he didn’t go overboard. In fact, we had some of the best middle runs of the season at the end of the game. Heard him on the headset mutter things like, ‘Ready for the Old Ultraviolence?’ and ‘I was cured, alright.’ Interestingly enough, Kelly had this strange British-type accent, but anyway, it was great for him…and us.”
Watson did note: “Of course, some dumb[kitten] decided to play a Rick Ross song in the locker room. Kelly nearly went ballistic, throwing at least two clipboards at the offender before he could calm down.”
The Texans’ special teams got into the act as well. Needing a spark, Special Teams Coach Tracy Smith placed a call for spiritual help. “Hey, at this point in the season, I felt we needed to do something. We haven’t totally sucked, unlike some other parts of the team, but there is always room for improvement. Read about this sports consultant from New Orleans, Papa Romero. I asked him about any advice or techniques he could offer. For the price of 3 rattlesnake heads, 2 properly boiled crabs, and a brain of some sort, he said he would get something for me. Only thing I had to do was provide the name of the kicker. Almost screwed it up, since [Jacksonville] keeps changing theirs, but then realized I could just check on Google. Gave him Stephen Hauschka’s name on Tuesday. By Thursday night, got a special package delivered by a black cat. Opened it up, and what did I find?”
“Papa Romero threw in a couple of pins and a note saying ‘Use this right as he is about to kick. Place a needle into his kicking leg, and all will be well.’ Well, fast forward to the second quarter, and Hauschka is lining up for a chip-shot 24 yarder. As accurate as he is, no way he misses that. Still, didn’t want to tell Romeo to burn a timeout, so just on a whim, I took that doll out, got one of the pins, and jabbed that thing right into his knee just as he was about to kick.”
“Damned if he didn’t shank that thing something awful. One of my guys reported that he was grunting funny after that, but whatever. Then, the offense screws up, again, and the defense, miraculously, or because it is Jacksonville, they hold the Jaguars o a field goal attempt. Up comes Hauschka, and while it is a 49 yarder, he is generally pretty good. Figured, why not? Took out the doll, used the other pin, and BAM! He derped again!!!”
Smith gushed, “I’ve been telling RAC that he needs to get down to NOLA to meet Papa Romero, but so far, no luck. Still, trying to reach out to him for next week. Got a message saying, ‘They’re already cursed with the ‘Rona’, but I think he can help more. Will even throw in some Shiner Bock.”
As for the Texans’ defense, they may have seen the greatest improvement of all. The team set their season’s best for yardage allowed. The run defense was spectacular, surrendering 75 total rushing yards for the game and managing to yield 0 yards rushing in the 4th quarter.
Asked how this team did that, Defensive Lineman J.J. Watt noted, “Well, Coach [Weaver] decided that we needed something to change on D. Starting at the team meetings on Wednesday, we installed a radical new system. Called it the ‘shotgun’ defense.”
When asked about what all the “shotgun defense” entailed, Watt could only chuckle. We asked other defenders, and the answers ranged from chuckling to, in the case of safety Eric Murray, a look of sheer horror.
We finally asked an anonymous source (not so many since BO’B left), and he offered this insight:
“You might think that the shotgun defense would be like the shotgun offense started by Tom Landry. In the shotgun offense, the quarterback will line up about 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage. On defense, well, it is not quite like that. The linebackers nor the safeties will alter their positioning relative to the line of scrimmage. In fact, the shotgun defense mainly consists of Anthony Weaver standing on the sideline and holding an actual shotgun. At the first sign of a bad play, or if a defender is not getting after it, Weaver will just pick up the gun, aim and fire right at the offending player. It throws you off at first, but man, it definitely got everyone’s attention.”
“That first half,” observed another anonymous source, “Weaver really wanted to unleash the shotgun. Kept calling ‘Remington, Remington!’ Oh boy, did that get some people’s attention locked in fast. Especially after the first four games, I was thinking ‘this [guy’s] gonna actually use the gun.’ Heard a rumor he actually had an AR-15 or AK-47, but fortunately, the team upped its game and we didn’t have to see that come out.”
All in all, it seems like the triumvirate of coordinators will have many new tricks up their sleeves as they look to change the fortunes of the Texans’ 2020 season and their 2021 employment prospects.