Landry Locker: Five reasons why I like the decisions the Texans have made.

Landry Locker
February 08, 2019 - 10:12 am

© Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL offseason has officially begun and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I like the decisions the Texans have made thus far. Here are five reasons why.

No. 1: The Coaching Moves Are Deshaun-Friendly

First-year offensive coordinator Tim Kelly doesn’t have experience as an OC, but few people have more experience than Carl Smith, who has nearly three decades of experience as an offensive coach at the NFL level including 14 years as an offensive coordinator.

Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert joined the show earlier this week to discuss Smith, who was his offensive coordinator and QB coach in New Orleans for seven years. Here’s what he had to say about how Smith will make Deshaun Watson a better QB.

“I think he will make Deshaun Watson better. One thing he did for me was to help me understand the concept that it’s great if you can adlib and make plays with your feet, but the ball has to come out. There’s no reason Deshaun Watson should get sacked as many times as he did this year. I know you want to make big plays, but a lot of times you have to trust the people around you and get the yards after the catch… One thing I was proud of and Carl really helped me with was that one year, I was the least-sacked QB in the NFL, that’s one thing that I got working with Carl… That’s inexcusable how many times Watson got sacked, but a lot of that is on Deshaun and a lot of people just assume the offensive line sucks, but no you can make the offensive line better and you have to realize that as a QB trying to get to that next level.”

Smith had a ton of success with Russell Wilson in Seattle and should serve as a great resource for Kelly in his first-year as an OC. Sprinkle in the experience and wisdom of T.J. Yates and these coaching moves will help Watson significantly.

No. 2: Carl Smith Has Worked With Russell Wilson, Who Has A Similar Skill-Set To Watson

 Wilson has spent his entire career with Smith as his QB coach and speaks very highly of him. This is what Wilson had to say about Smith in an interview with the Seattle Times in 2016:

“We’ve been through some amazing times,” Wilson says. “We’ve won a lot of football games, and a lot of that is credit to him and how he helps prepare me in such an amazing way. He positively affects everyone around him in everything he does. And that’s the best thing I can say about Tater: He positively affects everyone he knows and everyone around him. I just really believe he’s a true difference-maker for our team.”

Wilson and Watson have similar skill-sets and the fact that Smith has worked with a quarterback who is at the level Watson wants to get to will benefit Watson in his third season.

No. 3: Brian Cushing Has Potential To Be A Good NFL Coach

Say what you want about Brian Cushing and his past history with PED’s, but his passion for the game of football has always been praised and well-documented.

If he can develop the passion he had for playing into coaching, which could be hard for him, then he could be a hell of a coach in the future.

Bringing Cushing in to begin his coaching career is a low-risk, high-reward decision by O’Brien.

No. 4: Kelly Promotion=More Two Jordan Involvement In 2019

Kelly was a tight end coach last season so he should have a strong grasp of what second-year tight ends Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas can do. Both showed flashes as rookies in 2018 and there were many talking heads, including myself, who wanted to see them more involved in the offense.

It wouldn’t shock me at all to see the Two Jordans emerge as significant play-makers next season and the promotion of Kelly is a major reason why.

Having reliable tight end options will give Watson more short-intermediate passing options, which allows him to get rid of the ball quickly and take less punishment.

No. 5: Change Is Good

A complete overhaul of the Texans offense wasn’t necessary, but a few tweaks and new voices in O’Brien’s ear could go a long way.

In 2018 the Texans ranked 15th in total offense and 11th in points-per-game. That’s not bad, but it’s not great.

There were many reasons the Texans offense struggled at times including: Injuries to wide receivers Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, a lack of depth at running back, Watson holding onto the ball too long and poor blocking up front.

GM Brian Gaine will make a strong effort to improve the personnel issues, but the added pieces to O’Brien’s staff should help him be better at calling plays and developing a game plan.

Listen to Landry Locker Monday-Friday 10-2pm on In The Loop on SportsRadio 610.