Lopez: Relative To 'Big Move With Arizona,' Bill O’Brien Likely Falls Short

John P. Lopez
April 03, 2020 - 5:08 pm

(SportsRadio 610) -- If Texans season-ticket holders wanted to be talked off the ledge, their collective toes probably still are hanging off.

Bill O’Brien’s first public comments on his decision to trade Deandre Hopkins – a deal many have called the worst in NFL history – came Friday afternoon, in a round-table Q&A that also included Texans owner Cal McNair and executive vice president Jack Easterby.

In the roughly 16-minute conference call hosted by the Texans, nearly half of which involved McNair discussing multiple topics, O’Brien directly commented on the trade just once, echoing a familiar refrain.

“(The trade) was in the best interest of our team,” O’Brien said.

Those who wanted details, got few.

O’Brien said the trade was made largely because Hopkins wanted a new contract despite having three years remaining on his current deal. O’Brien also characterized acquiring running back David Johnson and a second-round draft pick as “great.”

None of it likely will be enough to appease fans and critics, who have been vocal and out in droves.

And, frankly, it would be hard to blame any of them. The array of familiar verbal crutches by O’Brien – “relative to,” “tough, smart and dependable,” “hard worker,” etc. – were plentiful.

The round-table also proved to be as vague as it was brief. In fact, Hopkins was mentioned by name only once. Three times the Hopkins trade was referred-to as, “the big move with Arizona.”

And like O’Brien, McNair mostly talked about moving forward, rather than addressing the depth and controversy surrounding trading arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.

“I would think,” McNair said, “as a fan I would be really excited that your leadership of the team can make bold moves.”

Doubtful.

The Texans’ brain trust certainly did recognize the mountains of criticism the organization and especially O’Brien has received.

Twice, O’Brien referenced, “the noise.” And twice he pulled a page from the Bill Belichick podium playbook, spelling “T-E-A-M” as a way of deflecting criticism of the Hopkins trade toward bigger Texans goals.

“We’re not trying to win March,” O’Brien said. “We’re trying to win January. It’s April. It’s not November.”

O’Brien never gave an update on negotiations with free-agent Laremy Tunsil and vaguely referenced the upcoming NFL Draft, mostly regarding logistics.

If Texans fans wanted to feel better about the Hopkins trade, they probably don’t. If O’Brien wanted to quiet “the noise,” he definitely did not.

“We started to make some decisions on what was the best path to go for the 2020 season,” O’Brien said. “Anything we do is made with the team in mind. Capital, T-E-A-M.

“We don’t think about one player. We don’t think about one day. We don’t think about one year … There’s always been some noise out there. I would hope season-ticket holders have seen we’ve won four division championships here. We’re doing everything possible to put together a championship football team. We’re really excited about our upcoming season.”

Feel better? We know the answer: N-O.