THE “THIRD TRIUMVIRATE” OF COORDINATORS COMBINE THE BEST PRACTICES OF THEIR PREDECESSORS AND ADD SOME NEW WRINKLES, DRIVING THE TEXANS TO GLORY.
In case you missed it in the furor over the DeAndre Hopkins trade/2020 kicking the world’s arse, the Houston Texans plan to start the 2020 season with all new defensive/special teams coordinators and the offense completely (to include play-calling) under the control of a coach not name Bill O’Brien. Provided the season can kick off on time, Tim Kelly, Anthony Weaver, and Tracey Smith will lead their respective units on to the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept 10, 2020. Each spent last season working for the Texans as position coaches, or in the case of Kelly, the offensive coordinator on paper. Weaver must fill the shoes of Romeo Crennel, one of the top defensive coordinators in NFL history. Smith must unexpectedly replace the special teams mastermind and mentor Brad Seely. It is reasonable to presume that Weaver and Smith learned a great deal from their predecessors and their combined 59 years of NFL experience, which should make the transition a bit smoother leading their units.
As for Kelly, his situation is a little different. The offense is allegedly all his, lock, stock and barrel, to include play-calling. BO’B, in addition to his head coaching duties, oversaw play-calling responsibilities for the past two seasons. However, since O’Brien also picked up the official title of GM, that’s a lot of hats, even for his rather robust cranium. Understanding that he can’t do all three jobs at once, O’Brien delegated his remaining offensive responsibilities.
The last time the Texans did that under B’OB: George Godsey. That didn’t quite work the way anyone wanted. Perhaps this time it will play out better. If nothing else, Godsey had a revolving door of QBs, whereas Kelly gets Deshaun Watson. Also, as quarterbacks coach, Kelly can strike the balance of familiarity with the potential (if BO’B can allow himself to fully delegate) to improve Houston’s offense.
LIKELIHOOD OF THIS HAPPENING: It is hard to get a read on how new coordinators will do, especially if they are internal hires. In recent times, Godsey and leader-of-men Mike Vrabel started out as position coaches under BO’B before their respective elevations to coordinator gigs. Godsey’s tenure was already discussed. As for Vrabel, he oversaw the Texans’ defensive regression of 2017, but that had as much to do with personnel losses (offseason departures and in-season injuries) as any failings in his leadership. He didn’t get the chance to improve as a coordinator, as he was quickly hired as head coach of the Tennessee Titans in 2018. We will find out if our three new coordinators can buck some recent Texans history.
There is reason for optimism. While he lost his best weapon in Hopkins, Kelly does have a number of versatile pieces in the arsenal. Kelly could be the conductor of a versatile and devastating offense, especially in the passing game (think “Warp Speed Passing Attack”). If BO’B lets Kelly work, the team could be in great shape on offense.
Special teams, prior to the hiring of Brad Seely, were not exactly “special”. “Marciano” is still a curse word in the Texans lexicon. However, Seely had the Texans special teams unit, especially when it came to kick coverage and field position, rated among the best in the league in his two years in Houston. Perhaps it is a situation where Smith can only maintain and not improve, but if he can even maintain the same level of performance, plus find a more explosive returner, the future looks good.
With Weaver, he inherits the weakest part of the team. Much of the hopes for improvement rest with a healthy J.J. Watt. However, Weaver is seen as a rising coaching star, and there is growth opportunity for the team. He does have solid LBs, especially Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney. The secondary is the big question mark, but perhaps with better health/familiarity and development of some of the younger players, they can improve. Provided the offense and special teams reach a high level, which is possible, a decent defense might be enough to get the team into the championship chase.
One factor that helps all three is that COVID-19 threw the NFL offseason into chaos. Familiarity between coaches/players could be a big difference between success and failure. The Texans might just have the right balance of familiarity with the potential for positive change with the “Third Triumvirate.”
THE WORLD ACTUALLY DOES ENTER INTO THE REALM OF PARADISE, WITH THE SECOND COMING/ARRIVAL OF THE MESSIAH/RETURN OF THE 12TH IMAM/GLOBAL INSTANTANEOUS ACHIEVEMENT OF NIRVANA/ETC. (TAKE YOUR PICK)
2020 is making its case for being the Year of the Apocalypse, isn’t it? Will all that has happened, and with four+ months left, anything is possible. However, in most religions, the end times portend a paradise-on-earth/chance to enter a better future. Granted, most end-of-the-world scenarios involve an awful lot of death, destruction, and not much football on the front-end. However, since we focus on best-case scenarios, let’s say that all that has transpired thus far is the worst that will happen, football is played, and that leads to the world’s entry into paradise. This is timed with a great success for the Texans, say, two hours after the Texans’ Super Bowl Victory Parade.
LIKELIHOOD OF THIS HAPPENING: We can always hope for the best, even in the roughest of times. Perhaps in the new world, the powers that be allow for more football, with the Texans starting a reign of dominance.
These are the ways that the Texans can find the path to paradise for the 2020 season. Too optimistic? Or is there a chance that the team can finally achieve long-sought glory? Have any other suggestions for how the season could go right?