Mike Answers The Tough Questions From Twitter

MAD Radio
September 28, 2018 - 10:51 am

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

 

I think this is a possibility, despite Bill O'Brien's 4-year contract extension. Head coaches in the NFL routinely get fired with multiple years left on their deals. Raiders owner Mark Davis fired Jack Del Rio after the 2017 season, despite an extension and reported financial issues for the Raiders owner. It would be a bitter pill to swallow for the McNair family, but a 5-or-fewer win season is going to make it tough to sell hope for 2019. 

I do want to make one thing clear: I actually believe the Texans have the talent and the right division to turn things around and make the playoffs, despite the fact that roughly 3% of 0-3 teams make the postseason. They are currently only two games back in the standings in the AFC South, and the overall state of the AFC doesn't appear incredibly strong right now.

 

The Texans aren't going to change their offensive system in the middle of the season. The run'n shoot also typically featured 4 WRs, and the Texans are really built to feature their top 2 wideouts, with a sprinkling of the others (hopefully Keke Coutee starting on Sunday). 

That style of offense is usually good to get a QB killed, which has been happening way too much already to Deshaun Watson. I think O'Brien would be better advised to go in the opposite direction, and start to design 6 and 7 man protections around Watson. Also, I want to see more of rookies Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins in this offense.  

 

Importing an offensive coordinator from the outside, during the year, is probably not in the cards. I think the only realistic solution would be for O'Brien to either delegate play-calling duties to QB coach Sean Ryan, or do it as part of a job share.

If O'Brien does stay after 2018, depending on how the rest of the season goes, I do believe that hiring a new offensive coordinator for 2019 could happen. However, it's usually not a great sign if you are trying to bring in a ton of outside coaching help in the area that should be O'Brien's area of expertise.  

 

We are getting way ahead of ourselves with this question, but it could be an interesting thing to look at. The trend in the NFL has been to hire offensive-minded coaches, as the game seems to head in that direction. With a young franchise QB in Watson, the Texans would be more likely than not to hire an offensive coach. On the other hand, the Titans hired former Houston DC Mike Vrabel, and they invested the number two overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Marcus Mariota. 

Here is a list of some of the promising coordinators in the NFL right now. One name that stands out to me is John DeFilippo, the current OC in Minnesota and former QB coach with the Super Bowl champion Eagles. 

 

David is clearly not listening to sports talk radio much this week. Mike Devlin has been put under the microscope, although obviously not as much as O'Brien has been. 

There's an argument to be made that Devlin simply hasn't had a lot of talent to work with up front. The Texans haven't invested a ton of salary cap space and high draft picks on the offensive line. There's also this simple argument: who has Devlin made better during his Houston tenure? Greg Mancz? Nick Martin? 

The more that time passes, the more it becomes apparent that missing out on Mike Munchak a few years ago was a pretty big deal. I do think Devlin is in a difficult situation. OL play requires cohesion, and even the best set of circumstances heading into 2018 meant four new starters on the offensive line. For me, the bottom line is this: if there's proof that Devlin is a high-level offensive line coach, we have yet to see it here in Houston.

Some other thoughts from this week:

  • I actually think Watson is playing reasonably well for the starting QB of an 0-3 team. He went 19/19 on attempts between the hashes against the Giants. Most of his career INTs have come down the field and towards the sideline. You can't win NFL games doing only one thing, but it seems like O'Brien would be pretty well served this particular attribute that Deshaun has. 
  • Even if this team was 1-2 and 2-1, the cornerback situation is too thin for a team that had hopes of competing at the top of the AFC. They clearly signed Aaron Colvin to play on the inside, which is fine. Why didn't Brian Gaine go after a boundary CB in the offseason to add to the mix? 
  • I still find it relatively remarkable that Houston's plan this offseason at offensive tackle seemed to consist of pursuing Nate Solder as a highly paid left tackle as plan A, then signing oft-injured Seantrel Henderson and relying on two very green young guys at OT as plan B. Why was there no middle ground as a solution here? Former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker echoed these sentiments in his weekly visit on Mad Radio this week. ​