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BRB GroupThink: The Cup Is Full Again

The masthead gathers around the fire to discuss what to look forward to during a lost 2020 NFL season.

Sunrise in Stuttgart Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images

I know we are all currently thinking of the future. The Texans need a new general manager and a new head coach. The team is currently 0-4; the NFL Playoffs seem like an impossibility, especially since they’re three games behind the other playoff hopeful teams in the AFC. The schedule is still tough. And so on and so forth.

That being said, there are still 12 games left in the 2020 NFL regular season, if the full 12 are even played. We’ll still be watching every game. What are you most excited for during the Texans’ next 12 games under Romeo Crennel’s watchful eye? What are you going to be watching for?

These are the masthead’s responses to those questions.

MATT WESTON:

I for one am so happy to have our favorite football team back. Since the playoff loss to the Colts in the 2018 Wild Card Round, after spending the entirety of that season playing scaredy-cat, ball control offense, only winning games because of an all-time great run defense that devoured offenses with atrocious quarterback play while failing to push the offense in any aggressive manner to get ready for the playoff shootout they’d possibly have to play, it became obvious those five hot weeks in 2017 were a fluke and the Texans were stuck in neutral with Bill O’Brien as head coach.

O’Brien isn’t a terrible head coach. He got the bare minimum out of the Houston football team. Bad coaches actively make their team worse; O’Brien didn’t do that in Houston. As a general manager, he actively torpedoed the roster, making quick, hot, reactionary decisions based around feelings. In less than two years, O’Brien turned the Texans from a good team with a bad quarterback into a bad team with a good quarterback.

That being said, his style of offensive play was bland. ESTABLISH THE RUN. Control the ball. Try to win the game at the very end. The occasional glimpses of innovative offense were there, like the jet sweep play action passing game in 2017 that disappeared entirely, or the drag-flat read pass option offense that worked for a few weeks last year against teams with bad linebacker play. What once worked turned quick and malodorous. Not only were the Texans constipated under O’Brien’s watch, but Houston football was usually stale. The same. Tasteless. Football to be paired with hangovers, khaki pants, and low fat milk.

Without O’Brien around, the Texans have the chance for rebirth, an opportunity to finally build a team and offense that best matches Deshaun Watson’s strengths. If they pull this off, the Texans will be more than a good team. They’ll be an entertaining team that enriches one’s life sixteen days a year.

For the rest of the season, I’m excited about everything every weekend now that the divot in this franchise is covered and filled. Everything. If J.J. Watt can get back to some semblance of All-Pro form, if the rookie class can get on the field, if Tim Kelly can finally bust out the super cool, super vertical, kill ‘em all offense that was promised this summer, if the offensive line can fix the same mistakes they’ve made over and over again, if Jacob Martin can find an answer once offensive linemen get their hands on him, if the edges can set the edge, if Whitney Mercilus will no longer be blocked by 183 lb. wide receivers, if Brandin Cooks can catch one vertical sideline pass (one...just give me one), if Romeo Crennel has enough room on his lap for me, if Will Fuller can become a Batman type of wide receiver, if David Johnson can get some looks out in space, and how the team’s general attitude will change after looking like a funeral procession these first four weeks.

Everything is bright and beautiful. Top down. O’Brien is out.

BIGFATDRUNK:

I don’t care.

It’s just great to have some measure of hope again that this team would better put its players, especially its star quarterback, in a better position to succeed. Pounding a round peg into a square hole for over six years had become inane and psychotic.

I spent this past Sunday rooting for the Vikings. I felt only a little dirty.

This Sunday? GO TEXANS!

RIVERS MCCOWN:

To me, the most interesting thing out of the pressers Watt and Watson did is that they seemed to mirror each other’s answers in a way that tells me they’ve rallied together around BOB’s dismissal. I think that’s exciting — other than Watt embracing Watson on the drive that won the Buffalo game, I haven’t seen a whole lot of interaction between the two of them. Feels like maybe a gap was bridged there?

CARLOS FLORES:

I’m excited to see where this offense goes. Now that BOB is gone and Tim Kelly doesn’t have that specter looming over him, maybe we finally see some tangible differences. Although BOB is all that Kelly has known, so maybe we see more of the same.

Since Romeo Crennel is a defensive mind, I’ll be watching what adjustments he makes to the defense. Specifically, if he’ll make the decision to cut Mercilus’s playing time and get more of Jacob Martin and Jonathan Greenard out there. I’m sorry to say that Merc has been one of the worst parts of this defense this year, especially considering how much he’s being paid. Enough is enough.

I’m also expecting to see more life out of the players. That means more smiles and energy. I know it’s not really a football thing. However, any workplace functions better with higher employee morale. Now that the tyrant is gone, maybe the guys will start having some fun.

MIKE BULLOCK:

I can only imagine the sight at BFD’s house, where he’s running around blasting confetti and tooting a party horn with the notes of “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead” playing in the background since O’Brien left the building.

To that end, I’d have to echo what he said. I’m excited to watch the Texans while not feeling depressed that there’s no end in sight to the inevitable playoff disaster that was the best we could hope for as Texans fans.

There’s also a big part of me that wants to see Romeo Crennel succeed. He’s been in the NFL for so long that he deserves his moment in the spotlight. While I’m not convinced that will happen, I’m still happy to root for him over the other guy.

L4BLITZER:

I guess there is a sense of relief. No more worries about whether the team will find a way to grossly underachieve and play as badly as their roster was constructed for this season. We just confirmed, that with the firing of the Grand Football Overlord and Pontifex Maximus of all Texans On-Field Operations BO’B, this team was exactly what we feared. The short-term future for the team looks just as brutal, with few quality draft picks and the highest payroll in all of the NFL. Jack Easterby will be part of the GM search, and it appears that the GM will be the first hire. I have no issue with the priority, as a quality GM is a must if the Texans will survive the radioactive fallout of their self-inflicted organizational thermonuclear blast. Still, Easterby ain’t inspiring that much confidence.

I will be curious to see what the overall team (players + coaches + front office) does in the next couple of weeks. Provided COVID-19 doesn’t wreck the remainder of the NFL season, the team still has 12 games left. Based on various reports and recent press conferences, it would seem that the mood at NRG Park will be far more relaxed than it has been for some time. Will that translate into wins? If we can’t beat Jacksonville, perhaps the new era of good feelings does not last. Then you have to wonder what the front office, or what is left of it post-BO’B, will do. Does the team decide to try to trade everyone of value for much-needed draft picks and potential cap relief? If nothing else, expect the coordinators to try to go all out, especially since they are all coaching for their resumes and next jobs.

As a fan, it may just be fun to see how the team does during the games and all the fun speculation about GM and coaching hires off the field. The win-loss record may not be great. The next 3-4 years could turn into the ugliest stretch in team history. Yet it may actually be more entertaining than the previous few games we saw at the end of the BO’B regime.

JOE CRITZ:

This is likely going to be the last year that this team will be together, as I imagine the only way Easterby and McNair will be able to attract any coach/manager to this mess is by giving them to freedom to blow it up and start fresh. It’s a legitimate possibility this is J.J. Watt’s last year in Houston, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Benardrick McKinney’s, Will Fuller’s, Bradley Roby’s, Brandin Cooks’, Randall Cobb’s, and/or Max Scharping’s as well. Players that can yield any sort of draft picks and are not absolutely essential for the future will be on the market in preparation for a rebuild. Since the 2021 or 2022 Texans will likely be an almost entirely different team from head to toe, I’m hoping for this year to be a sort of last hurrah for the late 2010s era of the Houston Texans.

I wanna see Romeo Crennel give Weaver and Kelly all the freedom they want to do whatever they want. Weaver and Kelly will be doing all that they can to attract future employers since they’ll almost be certainly out of a job by January 4th, so I’m hoping they use this team as a canvas for their best work. But because I wanna watch entertaining football, I’m hoping that means Kelly understands what he has at receiver and starts throwing the ball downfield every snap. There’s almost literally nothing to lose, so might as well go off with a bang every chance you get. It also gives him an excuse to get Keke Coutee and rookie Isaiah Coulter (who just returned to practice yesterday) on the field to show off their abilities. Just go crazy on offense. Do everything you can to make me feel like I’m watching a football team that isn’t the O’Brien-infected Houston Texans.

I wanna see the same with Weaver. Unique schemes that get as many players in as many weird positions on the field as possible. Get John Reid, Ross Blacklock, Greenard, and Charles Omenihu as many snaps as you can, both as a test of their abilities and to give the next regime some meaningful film on the younger guys. Start using Lonnie Johnson as safety for games at a time or just use him as nondescript defensive weapon that moves all over the field. He was a second round pick; he can’t be completely useless. Use Justin Reid literally everywhere. Who cares? Bring in some guys from the practice squad that showed some promise.

Winning is not crucial now. Do everything possible to show your players’ talents and your talent as a coach every play. If that means you dominate the opponent with weird schemes and 30+ yard passes to a 40+ point victory, great! If it means your schemes fall apart and cause a blowout in the other direction, that’s alright. What we were doing before got someone fired a quarter into the season, so we might as well try something new.