Bill O’Brien spoke to the media Monday. It was about as apathetic as you’d imagine it would be. Ah, the perks of having the Houston football world in the palm of your hand. Without further ado, let’s get into the slop. Link to the full conference is here.
“I would say that was more based on what the Steelers were doing, you know, Deshaun is always involved in the running game. There were certain plays that were, you know, read type plays where the read told us to hand the ball off. Yeah, the Steelers did a good job, but yeah he’s always involved in the running game”
At this point in time, I’d prefer to stuff Deshaun in bubble wrap and wait out the dumpster fire that is currently being kindled. Involving him in the running game would be interesting, as Houston’s RPO concepts have been pretty much non-existent to this point. However, it remains to be seen if the team can consistently pull it off.
“Bill, I know every year is different, but is there anything that you or your players can take from the fact that in 2018 you guys started 0-3 and then made the playoffs that year?”
“I mean, every year is different, Sarah. I would say that there’s not much we can take from that year. Three different teams we opened up against that year. We’ve opened up against three very good teams and we just haven’t obviously done enough to win any of those games. So, you know we did a lot of things yesterday that were decent, but not enough and we just have to really build on the things we’re doing well and really correct the things we’re not doing well.”
He’s actually right! That 2018 team was very different from this squad. They were more talented. Tyrann Mathieu, Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Reader, DeAndre Hopkins, Kareem Jackson. None of those guys are here anymore, and there aren’t any equal substitutes.
“From a run-blocking standpoint, what did you see when you watched the tape from some of the running plays that you attempted and is there anything David Johnson could be doing differently to pick up more yards?”
“No, there’s nothing that David can do differently. I think we have to, as a coaching staff, we have to do a much better job of scheming it up and just doing a better job. No, David’s running hard and look, can we run block better? Yes but we’re all in it together and you know coaching-wise, we have to do a better job.”
Yup, Marshall Faulk couldn’t have rushed for 50 yards in this offense. Teams are keying in on CHUM and stacking the box on first down. The Texans’ offensive line has been piss poor at run blocking as of late, so it didn’t help that the Steelers had the top ranked run defense in the league. Poor guy, he’s the next in a long line of Texans running backs to be ground into dust by BOB’s play calling.
“Any update on A.J.? Does it look like something that may linger for a while with the leg?”
“I don’t think he’s been in yet this morning. I think they’re coming in here pretty soon so we’ll know better about it. Knowing AJ, he’s going to try to fight to be back so I’m not really sure to give you an exact answer.”
“Will Fuller V returned a punt yesterday, and by the end, a fair catch was all he returned. What do you like about him potentially as a returner?”
“It hit the ground and he fielded it off the bounce. You know, he was able to field it off the bounce and got it to the 50-yard line. Yeah, you know Will can do that. He can return punts and so you know there’s certain situations where we may or may not put him in the game to do that. It’s just, you know, that particular one worked out that it was kind of a different type of punt. It hit the ground he fielded it off the bounce and got us back to about the 45-yard line.”
Our special teams is butt. It doesn’t matter who’s back there. The only person who is somewhat consistent is Bryan Anger. Show the punter some love!
“Senio Kelemete has been playing with Max Scharping at left guard the last two weeks. What’s the thought process there?”
“Look, I think Senio has been playing good and I think Max is doing some good things, but I think Senio is practicing well and playing pretty well. I think Max is doing some good things, so I will continue to look at that spot. Both guys are playing good, and both guys know sometimes it’s important to get some guys some reps in there that are doing good things on the practice field, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Both have been terrible. Max Scharping has been getting beat, and I’ll throw Zach Fulton in the mix too. What was supposed to be the most cohesive, solid unit we’ve had in a long time is deteriorating right in front of our eyes. Mike Devlin has to go.
“Bill, what do you see as the most important thing your team needs to do this week to get on track?”
“We have to play better complimentary football. We go down at the end of the half and we have a really nice two minute drive, take the lead, then at halftime we come out into the second half and the defense did some good things in the second half, but offensively we didn’t compliment them at all. We didn’t compliment offense with return yardage. There was more return yardage out there for us. Punt return, kickoff return. So, we are just not doing enough of that. We do it at times, but not enough and so we really need to understand that. We need to really do a better job of that.”
Yeah. Special teams didn’t do enough to help the defense. Yuck.
“So, are you guys trying to run it a little bit more outside given how it went going inside? Especially given David’s speed and all the speed you guys have on offense, is that part of the scheming that you mentioned?”
“Well, we tried to run it outside. We tried to run it inside. We couldn’t run it anywhere. So, you know, Pittsburgh did a good job on the edges. They did a good job on the inside. We just need to do it better. We just have to do a better job. You’ve got to coach it better, we’ve got to scheme it up better, we just need to do a better job.”
So you know what O’Brien did? He decided to come out of the gate running in the second half. We ended up with a total of 29 yards rushing.
“What did you guys do well in the running game at Kansas City when you averaged 5.4 yards per carry?”
“Different defense, different scheme that we used that night. It’s just different, John. I mean like yesterday was a lot of 8-man box, 3-4 defense, nickel defense, blitzing nickel, things that we obviously saw on tape and we felt like we had some good things for it. We just didn’t get it done. We need to do a better job for the players and we’re going to try to do that this week.”
That is an absolutely nothing answer. You ran into two great defenses back-to-back and could accomplish dang near nothing. You had no good things for it.
“With the tackling, do you think that’s starting to get better or is it still not quite where it needs to be? I know some of the guys, including Justin Reid, were hard on themselves on social media yesterday.”
“Yeah. I think the tackling has improved. I mean, you know, at the end of the game Eric Murray made a really good tackle that almost caused a fumble through the end zone. Benardrick McKinney made some good tackles, Zach Cunningham made some good tackles , but then we missed a couple. We missed a 3rd and 10 early in the game and had a chance to stop them there, but missed the tackle. So, there’s still improvement that needs to be made, but I do think it has improved.”
The Texans’ tackling was atrocious. So many arm tackles. No one wrapping up. Justin Reid had a play dead to rights in the backfield and whiffed. It’s just bad.
“I’m just curious what are some of the positives that you guys are going to take from this past game to the next. I mean, you guys did have a strong first half.”
“Look, it stinks when you have to talk about positives after you lose a game, but there are positives. You’re right, we played pretty good complimentary football in the first half. Obviously we’ve played three really good teams, so we’re not there yet. We didn’t win any of those games, but feel like we’ve definitely improved. We need to try to play sixty minutes of that type of football. I think if we play sixty minutes of that type of football, we can win, but we’ve got to get it going here very quickly.”
BOB loved this answer. He perked up because he could stroke himself with whatever thirty seconds it took for this to fly out of his mouth. Basically, it’s “if we play good, we might win”.
“What have you guys been doing to keep opponents from completing passes down the field? You guys have only given up five plays in three games of at least 20 yards. One was on that blown coverage to Smith-Schuster, but obviously you’re doing something to keep people from throwing it down the field.”
“I think that it’s a combination of rush coverage when teams try to go downfield. The guys have done a good job for the most part of staying in coverage, other than the one you just talked about yesterday. There were a lot of good examples of getting pressure on the quarterback and guys being in good coverage, and being where they’re supposed to be while recognizing the route. So, I think guys overall have done a good job of that. There’s other things we need to improve on, but that’s one thing that we’ve got to keep going. We have got to keep limiting the big pass plays.”
That is one thing that’s eluded me as of late. It could be chalked up to “bend don't break”, but I think that opposing teams could really take advantage of our secondary situation. I think the run game has been so successful for everyone that they haven’t really felt the need to take shots downfield. We’ve been getting killed in terms of time of possession. That’s due to a combination of our anemic offense and a defense that can’t stop the run to save their life. Take away the run, and then maybe this secondary gets exposed for what they really are.
I’ve got an appointment scheduled with an ENT because my ears haven’t stopped bleeding since this press conference ended. How do you feel about these answers? Anything that’s overwhelmingly concerning? Do the Texans REALLY have to do a better job?