Houston Texans: An understanding of Bill O’Brien’s maniacal method

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Bill O’Brien has made some questionable moves lately. While Houston Texans fans can’t understand why and aren’t happy, one tries to understand. Let’s look.

The offseason for the Houston Texans has been nothing but chaotic for the worse. With the trades Bill O’Brien the GM is making, it seems hard to comprehend what he’s doing. But perhaps there’s a method to his madness that is being hidden from the public view.

Here’s an open letter:

Houston Texans fans,

All of us are still dealing with the aftermath of arguably, the worst trade in NFL history. What makes it the worst trade isn’t that the players involved are bad, but that ego and sensitivity are being played out. Whatever the real story behind Bill O’Brien’s decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins, one thing is for certain. He won’t be getting any Christmas cards from us anytime soon.

With today’s trades and his statements on the recent moves, it just makes things more embarrassing for us as fans of a team striving to win a championship. The fears of our franchise are there.

We worry that a team with talented players like Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are having their best years wasted not because of injuries or playoff failures. But rather because of a coach, who while his intentions might appear to have Super Bowl written on them, has taken a route that is much like walking a tightrope where a slip-up leads to a trip down where sharks and crocodiles wait at the bottom of surging water that can lead to a waterfall-like Niagara Falls. 

Like everyone, I can’t seem to fathom myself around these transactions and can only predict what age I will be when the Houston Texans do win their first Super Bowl. I’m going to guess around 35-45 for now. However, in thinking about all that has occurred, I’ve decided to take a different approach. I decided to try and figure out what the mind of Bill O’Brien is thinking.

About a week ago, I came across this video on Youtube. Of course, this was posted on April Fool’s Day, so you can think this had to be a joke. But in this video, the narrator talks about how supposedly, the player the Houston Texans got from the trade, David Johnson, is actually a better player than we give him credit for. If you watch this video, I’ll bet you one-tenth of your mind might actually think this guy has a point. I certainly felt that way when I watched it.

With the trade for Brandin Cooks, the Houston Texans acquired a receiver, who at the tender age of 26, has four seasons of over 1,000 yards and 34 touchdowns while playing in a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams (he caught eight passes for 120 yards in the game). But Cooks also has had injuries, mostly with concussions. Five times, Cooks was on the concussion list, including two last season.

Cooks joins a Texans’ receiving core made of Will Fuller, injury-prone, but dominant when healthy. Randall Cobb, who caught for both Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott and is coming off his best season since 2015. Kenny Stills, who while averaging a career-low 14 yards per catch last season, was able to take the burden off Hopkins. Darren Fells, who caught a career-high seven touchdown passes at the tight end spot.

On paper, this has the makings of an Air Raid offense. It wouldn’t necessarily match the best offenses ever, like Air Coryell from the Chargers, the West Coast offense of the 49ers, and The Greatest Show on Turf in the St. Louis Rams because the players are not on par with that of an electric receiver like Hopkins.

But when I think about this, I suddenly think that perhaps O’Brien might have something up his sleeve. Last season, Hopkins was the primary weapon for Watson. If it came down to a situation where someone was going to get the ball, Hopkins was the guy and everybody knew it, even the defenses. However, if you had four guys, who while aren’t as talented as Hopkins, come up in the clutch, Watson would have multiple options. Option A would be Cooks. Option B could either be Cobb or Fuller, pending their health. Option C might be Fells down the middle.

The tricky part for defenses is that they’ll have multiple options that if they choose to double-team one guy, somebody else will be open and he was the primary receiver on the play. In other words, pick your poison. Of course, this could bode well for the Texans this season if they stay healthy, protect Watson with the offensive line, and make sure he has room to work.

Sure, Bill O’Brien is taking a huge risk here. He’s already got his neck on the chopping block and he wants to win. We think we know better as fans and we probably do. But this is O’Brien’s gamble that is either make or break. By giving up a second-round pick that could be used for a receiver out of college, O’Brien feels that he wants to have his team in a Super Bowl or bust mode now.

I said in my last entry on the Texans that the trade of Hopkins might be similar to that of Herschel

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Walker, except we’re getting players through trades and not draft picks. We got some players. Let’s see if they live up to the praise the management is giving them.

For a team that had their version of the Oilers’ collapse last season, this could be the final run of an era that saw so much potential to get a championship only to see it come crashing down. Should this somehow work and hypothetically, get us to the Super Bowl and the first Lombardi trophy for the city, O’Brien might not receive as much love as he probably should from us. But perhaps he knew something all along that we didn’t know and for that, we might give him credit.

In these uncertain times while we deal with a virus, the future of the franchise is in an uncertain time. With teams like the Chiefs and Ravens getting better while the Patriots are probably going backward, for now, the Texans dreams of becoming champions might have to endure some rough times. The only thing we can do is just stick through this and ride out the bad times as we do with the good.

So Coach O’Brien, four words for you —  I. HOPE. THIS. WORKS.

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Go Texans.