The most repeated statement I receive in feedback when discussing the Houston Texans and what direction this new regime might take in rebuilding the roster is to not hold the son accountable for the sins of the father. Bob McNair hasn’t had the best origin story in buying an NFL franchise, despite nothing but the best of intentions. However, after the disaster that Dom Capers and Charlie Casserly were, he follows it up with improvement under Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith, but years of underachieving.
Each and every offseason, the team became so predictable that we knew what type of players they’d bring in via free agency or the draft and all of them would be upstanding model citizens, or “good kids,” for lack of a better term. When said predictability began to make its way into the Texans offensive scheme, the bottom fell out and here we find ourselves with a new head coach and certainly a new direction at quarterback. Going after Bill O’Brien was a sneaky move that I didn’t expect from Bob McNair. But outside of that, I have to wonder if he’s making the same mistakes that got us to where we are today.
By this, I mean a few things that are not really being talked about that I spoke of in my “10 Thing I Hate About the Texans” post I wrote during the dumpster fire that was the 2013 season. The first on that list being that I wasn’t a fan of giving a first time head coach complete control over the 53 man roster. Now, I realize that this is all hearsay and we don’t know what’s going on down at Reliant–er, NRG, but there are plenty of rumors that Rick Smith has been neutered and O’Brien is calling the shots over the roster. If this turns out to be true, I just cannot get behind it. I can’t even get behind that for one of the experienced “big fish” coaching options that were out there, much less a first time NFL head coach.
Next, while everyone says the team not hiring an offensive coordinator doesn’t bother them, the first time the offense struggles, it’ll bother them plenty. Just like the previous head coach, we have ourselves a guy who will run all of the offensive plays through his headset. Things are said to be very different due to O’Brien actually letting his QB audible and check out of plays if he doesn’t like what he sees pre-snap. But the fact remains that this is a consecutive head coach that has his hands on every single play.
With the news of the Ryan Fitzpatrick signing, which I had no problems with, the money he is getting leads me to believe that he is the guy to stopgap until a rookie quarterback is ready to go. This leads me to another case of history repeating itself. Sure, in hindsight the Mario Williams pick was the correct move. But at the time, just like in 2002, it wasn’t the popular option with the masses. Now there is talk of the team not taking the best player available due to need at quarterback. Regardless of your personal preference, to deny that Jadeveon Clowney is the best player available in this draft is just a clown move, bro. We already passed on Peppers for Carr once. Could they really do it again and select Blake Bortles? Of course they could (and probably will, if I’m being forced to call my shot now).
No matter who the Texans select with the top pick, there is going to be a large portion of the fanbase that is unhappy; that’s just the nature of the beast. It’s also unfair to judge the decision without the usual three seasons to assess a grade. But if you aren’t seeing the parallels between what’s going on right now with 2002 and 2006, I believe you aren’t looking hard enough.
My fellow suffering Texans fans tell me not to judge this administration off of the boneheaded run of the previous regime and that’s completely fair. But I’m also not going to go into it with the blind faith we all had when Gary Kubiak took over. That leads to misery and drinking…and I don’t need any help there.
Cautious optimism, my friends. I want to have the trust that they will do the right thing, but after a decade plus of continuous facepalming, I want them to prove it to me first. Never forget what we have endured up to this point in the past history of this team.
As George Santayana once said; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” God, let’s hope not.