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Totally Not Fake News: Strategic Readjustment

How will the Texans adjust course during the bye week?

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Houston, TX – The Houston Texans, with the first half of the 2021 season in the rear-view mirror, are using their scheduled bye week to reassess how things have gone, and what they need to do in order to make the second half of the season a better experience for all involved. To say that things have been rough is a classic understatement. As affirmed by an unnamed team source “To say that things have been rough is a classic understatement.” We can’t say it any better, so we didn’t.

For most, a bye week is a time when players can rest up, take stock, and find some sort of recharge in their batteries before going back to the grind to face the second half of a brutal NFL season. The Texans are no different. The team currently resides at the bottom of the league for scoring offense and the worst offender for penalties. The Texans, although they have far exceeded their total number of takeaways from last season, still rate among the worst in the league in most defensive categories.

“Just been a tough stretch. We haven’t been scoring a lot of points” observed Head Coach David Culley. “However, we are making up for it by not running the ball or tackling. We’ve proven we can’t win at home or on the road, so we are going to use this bye week to review a few things, and then try to go on the road to see if we can actually win a game or two.”

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins
They’re trying, but honestly, does this inspire fear or respect?
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The struggles of the team have not escaped the notice of team CEO Cal McNair. After the team’s most recent failings in Miami, Cal threw his Bluetooth game controller against the wall in a fit of frustration and rage, but that could have also been from losing yet again in a multi-player version of Mario Kart, this time to an elite group of Middle Schoolers from Lake Jackson, TX

“Thought that [Easterby] spat of brain-eating amoeba in the drinking water down there, along with the normal swarms of disease-infested, armor-piercing mosquitoes would have weakened their skills, but nope, those meddling kids foiled me again” lamented Cal McNair.

However, Cal’s mood changed when Janice McNair informed him that the team he is tasked to run is not doing well. Initially, Cal shrugged, but when informed that the diminishing revenue streams would impact the family video game budget, Cal sprung into action. Realizing that he would do well to emulate a successful organization, Cal made a few phone calls and held some meetings with certain local peers. Immediately, Cal began directing some major changes.

Culley, when asked about those changes, could only chuckle. “Oh, Mr. McNair! He is one funny dude. I mean, when you are 1-8, you are open to suggestion, but somehow, I am wondering just what he is playing at. I mean, when I came on-board, I thought this squad was already trying to emulate a championship organization, like that team up North, but I think Cal looked a little more local.”

When asked about that, Cal could only smile. “Had some great conversations with my pal Jim Crane. He was very receptive to trying to help out, and he was talking to me about helped make his team so good and strong. I think we can take some great lessons and apply them here.”

2021 World Series Game 1: Atlanta Braves v. Houston Astros
Yep, that Jim Crane
Photo by Michael Starghill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The coaching staff immediately received new directions on actions. Rookie QB Davis Mills, who has struggled in most of his game action, was seen working with Tim Kelly, who, in turn, was observed studying some game film sent along by Brent Strom. “See, Davis, your footwork has been a bit suspect. You aren’t get that good base which to launch your fastballs with any degree of accuracy. So, I want to you to look at what this youngster is doing.” The two started watching game footage from the 6th game of the ALCS. “See, look at that rocking motion. So, when you drop back out of your snap, trying rocking the football back and forth, and take those shuffling couple of steps before you throw. This will help with velocity and accuracy, ok?”

“Are you sure, Mr. Kelly?” asked a befuddled Davis Mills. “I mean, I don’t see a whole lot of those meanies that hurt me rushing him all the time?”

“Don’t worry Davis, just start doing the motion, and I am sure that will help your throwing action? See, look at how strong that kid is throwing things!!!”

“But Mr. Kelly, are you sure?”

“Davis? Look, not much has worked for us, and not to put too fine a point on it, but my, er, our jobs are on the line, so get to it!!! Also, don’t worry. We don’t play Atlanta this year.”

However, Kelly might have felt some increased pressure as Cal directed the coaching staff that they lacked the quality arms necessary to succeed. “Can’t put too much on quarterbacks and their arms. Got have a well-stocked roster.” Thus, Cal drove GM Nick Caserio to seek some additional quarterbacks to add to the roster.

World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Six
An example of the various “arms” Cal wants to bring to the Texans for the 2nd half of the season.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

As relayed to Totally Not Fake News by one team official:

“Initially, Caserio had questions, noting that in his time in New England, the team didn’t really carry more than two QBs on the gameday, and had one other arm on the practice squad. You can just imagine his reaction when Cal was directing him to go for about 12-13 QBs, to ‘round out the pitching, er, throwing staff.’ When Nick finally recovered from the shock, he then asked Cal where he expected to get all of those arms, as the team could only carry a limited number of players and they had to account for substitutions. Cal brushed him off, noting that as along as they had 9-12 good field players, adding those additional arms should not be a problem.”

Cal apparently came in to the coaching meetings after his sessions with Crane, asking Culley and Kelly about their thoughts on using an “opener” against the Titans, whereby one of the new QB arms can come out in the first series, face the defensive lineup using some hard throwing, and then on the next series, bring in the primary starter, expecting them to go about a quarter or two, before turning the game over to their “arm pen” to close it out.

“See, that way the defense doesn’t know what is coming. It throws them off and our guys can throw hard and fast with impunity.”

This same source indicated the look of incredulity from Culley and Kelly lasted for at least the rest of the afternoon.

Additionally, Cal had ideas about how to best relay plays and signs into the game. However, there was significant pushback from the team and most of the city hardware stores, as the idea of multiple trashcans on the Houston sideline did not sit well with a lot of people.

NFL: DEC 27 Bengals at Texans
Does anyone else get the sense that this man, Mr. Tim Kelly, could use a hug or two?
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Since the team is on a bye week, we will have to wait until next week to see if these changes will amount to anything. However, sources indicate there was further discussion between Cal and an increasingly befuddled and enraged Caserio about how to significantly increase the team’s draft picks/capital for the pending off-season.

“Qualifying offers? What the ever-loving [Easterby] are you talking about? You want me to offer 1 year qualifying offers to all of our LBs/RBs/CBs, hoping that they don’t sign so you can get compensatory draft picks? You know this is the NFL, not MLB, right?”

After that comment, Cal just shrugged, saying, “Hey, it is working for Crane and his organization, let’s start doing it here.”

How this will play out, we will have to see. Until then, Totally Not Fake News is signing off for now. At least until next time, when we will once again print all the news that is fit to print, and even if it is not fit to print, we will print it anyway.