Five Frivolous Facts with Fred: Titans 20-17 Loss Edition

In The Loop
September 17, 2018 - 10:34 am

by Fred Davis | @TheFreddyD

Stop me if you’ve heard any of the following uttered from Bill O’Brien during his 66-game tenure as Texans Head Coach:

 

“Got to do a better job of coaching that play up…”

“We had a plan and didn’t execute it…”

“We got to keep fighting, it’s a long season…”

“I think everybody fought hard, but we didn’t finish the game…”

 

I don’t have the running tally for each time he’s said any of those things. We know it’s somewhere in the hundreds. So it was no surprise he managed to cram all of his trademark coach-speak into his post-game presser after the Texans lost 20-17 to the Titans in Nashville. This game didn’t feature any missed timeouts. Yet it did feature plenty of questionable play-calling, shoddy special teams play and a Star Quarterback whose stats belie what he actually looked like on the field.

It’s now two weeks in a row where BoB doesn’t have his team prepared to play. It’s the second week in a row where Deshaun Watson is overthinking and has said something in his Postgame Presser that gives you pause. And it’s the second straight week that your #1 pick from 2014 has been MIA – oh wait, Jadaveon Clowney did have an impact in Sunday’s game, except it was him getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty – while on the sideline in street clothes.

The Texans are now 0-2 on the season, could easily be 2-0 and are now in last place in the AFC South with an alleged 11 percent chance of getting to the Postseason according to NFL Stats. The Giants come to town on Sunday and while it’s easy to say this Sunday is the day, we said that about yesterday.

Without further ado – let me bring to you – Five Frivolous Facts with Fred – Titans 20-17 Loss Edition.

 

  1. YES BoB looks Bad Right Now – BUT WHERE IS THE JUICE?!?! -  Juice. I’m not sure when this word came into Houston Texans fans vernacular, probably around the Hard Knocks year if I’m not mistaken, but that was BoB’s word for energy, bringing a liveliness to the field or wherever. Juice this, he brings juice, needs more juice, gotta come out with juice, I like my juice hand-squeezed; there was no shortage of juice and what it meant for the team. Well, for a coach that prides himself of ensuring his team brings juice, it’s clear after two games this season – the Juice isn’t Loose – it left town and has shown zero signs of coming back anytime soon. Listen, we can get into BoB’s questionable game management skills or his head-scratching play-calling down the stretch – again. But where is the ENERGY from this football team? Where is the fire and brimstone that he’s alleged to bring, the intensity? For two weeks, this team has looked listless on offense. Spare me the Deshaun numbers. We know he’s a good quarterback, but he’s a shell of himself. The guy had an ACL injury, he wasn’t lobotomized and supposed to look like Jack Nicholson near the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest. The old adage, the QB is a direct representation of the coach on the field, and never has it been more apparent during this two-week losing streak to start the season that Deshaun and BoB are One. We get it, there are going to be mistakes made on the field, but this team committed 11 penalties for 88 yards against a team with a BACKUP QUARTERBACK QB and FIRST-YEAR head coach. BoB was outcoached by the guy that’s been on his staff for four years and beat him with essentially the same guys BoB’s been trotting out for the last four seasons in Blaine Gabbert. Oh, and the Titans were without BOTH starting Tackles. This is becoming clear, BoB has to do a couple things – One – give up the offensive reins – immediately. It’s proving to be too much. He can’t run an offense and run the team. He can’t do it. He’s shown that he’s not capable of handling both. Two, he needs to take a serious look at both himself and his coaching staff and ask – is this the best we can do?  What is Mike Devlin’s real contribution? What was supposed to be so special about Brad Sealy? Why does this defense keep trotting out Whitney Mercilus and Brennan Scarlett when it’s clear Duke Ejiofor needs to be out there? BoB needs to get this thing on track – quick – or his snippiness with the media after games is going to get really bad with each winnable game ending up in the Loss Column.

 

  1. DESHAUN – DECENT NUMBERS – BUT SNIPPY AND SIMPLE MISTAKES – I sat there listening to Deshaun’s post-game Sunday afternoon and once again, something he said caught my ear. “You can sit back in your seats and say that I needed to throw the ball away.” He added, “my instincts took over and tried to get the ball and time ran out.” Sometimes DW, your instincts let you down. And that’s exactly what happened at the end of the game Sunday. Now, I don’t know what BoB said to Deshaun before that last play. This much I do know, the Titans called a timeout and there was AMPLE time on the sideline to draw up AND DISCUSS what needed to be done there with only 17 seconds left on the game clock. This much we do know, with Fuller in the game, Deshaun did look better than he did the week before. But let’s not forget – he’s now 3-5 as a starting QB in the NFL. He threw another terrible deep ball into double coverage that was picked off. He was running for his life – or getting sacked – early in the ballgame. He was sacked four times on the day. He targeted Will Fuller and DHOP 20 times. Four other guys had eight targets. The plays that were called for him didn’t seem to make any sense either and why the pocket isn’t being moved around to help him out remains a mystery. And then the snippiness. Maybe it’s frustration. That’s probably a lot of it. This is new territory for Deshaun. He’s 0-2 and people are looking at him and why he’s coming up short. He’s getting mad at reporters on Twitter. His “you can sit back in your seats” comment sounds petty for a guy with his skill set and alleged mental edge. Deshaun isn’t Deshaun right now and it feels like a Snickers commercial where it’s Tom Savage out there mucking it up and we just need to give Deshaun something to eat and all will be right in the world again. Whatever it is, I do believe Deshaun is close to getting his mojo back, but the synergy right now between QB and Head Coach is alarmingly impotent as this team stares 0-3 down with the Giants headed to NRG this week.

 

  1. I THOUGHT PRESSURE CREATED DIAMONDS – It does, but not in Houston. What is going on right now? That’s a question for every part of the football team after its 0-2 start, but for a team that boasted three guys who are supposed to get to the QB – your leading sack artists after two weeks are third-year NOSE TACKLE DJ Reader with 2 and ROOKIE SIXTH-ROUND PICK DUKE EJIOFOR. Now, we say that not to besmirch the names of Duke and DJ, but rather to raise the question – where’s Whitney Mercilus? What happened to Clowney? Certainly, JJ was due to get off the schneid. To borrow a quote from John McClain – Nope, Nope, and Nope. Whitney was invisible for the second straight week. FIVE tackles in two games. FIVE. That’s still two more tackles and ONE more game than Clowney, who didn’t play on Sunday thanks to elbow and back injuries. And then there’s JJ. God Bless him, he’s out there working his Arse off. Against backup tackles. And still didn’t register a sack. Sure, he finished with six tackles and two tackles for loss. But again, no discernable pressure against a team with one tackle who was making his NFL DEBUT. Meanwhile, I kept seeing Brennan Scarlett and Whitney on the field on important passing downs during the stretch run of the game.  For what? If they can’t get to the QB – why have them out there? Why not let the rookie – the only player with any legit pass rushing moves – try to make a play? I get Romeo has been around for 800 years, but seriously, let’s get creative with this front seven because the lack of pass rush is embarrassing.

 

  1. DON’T EVER USE THE WORD GURU FOR ANYONE HIRED BY BOB – That goes for anyone. I don’t care that Brad Seely has been in the NFL 30 years. I don’t care that he used to coach for New England. I don’t care that he’s loud and yells a lot and has all these cute personality quirks. Which, by the way, wasn’t Brad Seely supposed to be some Rules Junkie? What about a scheme junkie? Where’s the part in 30 years that defends a basic punt formation to start a football game? A missed FG, a hold on a punt return and the fake punt Touchdown – all in the first half against this so-called Special Teams Genius. Trevor Daniel was good, not great on Sunday and Tyler Ervin wasn’t anything spectacular on punt returns – plus he took the WORST angle possible when trying to tackle Duane Cruikshank on the fake punt TD. The Special Teams was abysmal Sunday. Again.

 

  1. WHAT IS BRIAN GAINE THINKING AFTER THIS START? While BoB is being a jerk at the podium – let me remind you all of what was expected of this football team with an excerpt from NFL.com earlier this year:

“With O'Brien and Gaine tied at the hip with matching deals, a promising superstar quarterback expected to make a full recovery, and former Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt also set to return from a season-ending leg injury, the future in Houston looks as bright as ever.” NFL.COM – JAN. 13, 2018.

What a difference an 0-2 start makes. Two regular season games into his first full year as Texans General Manager, Brian Gaine had to know there were deficiencies with his roster, but he also had to feel as though he’d put enough pieces in place for his BFF and his coaching staff to do their job – i.e. coach the guys up – and make this Texans team a competitive group that would vie for the AFC South title. This is not that group right now. Now, while everyone outside of NRG is looking for blood, or more specifically, BoB’s, and the FireBillOBrien IG page should be up and running since websites aren’t as cool anymore, this much we can safely say – BoB is not getting fired this season. Nor should he. I know that sounds like heresy, but it’s still only two games. Granted two bad games, but Brian Gaine has to show some patience with his head coach. With so much anticipation heading into the year, a new GM he can trust and is on the same page “philosophically” with, a franchise QB, a healthy roster, this was supposed to be a new year for BoB to rise up and take the next step in his coaching evolution. Instead, he’s doubled-down on his mistakes and the Texans are 0-2 because of it. So what does Gaine do? We’ve heard of a players-only meeting, there needs to be a Coaches Only Meeting. And while I’m sure they already have those, I think it’s important Brian Gaine sit in on the next one, maybe kick it off even perhaps. I don’t care how close he and BoB are – are they cool enough to lose a job over together? Are they cool enough to squander a winning season together? Are they cool enough to lose the locker room and make everyone wonder aloud what’s happened to the next face of the NFL? These next few weeks are as much about Brian Gaine as they are BoB. No game at this point should be considered an automatic win. Not any longer. Sunday’s debacle in Nashville proved that. And don’t let me hear, ‘BoB got an extension, he can’t go anywhere.’ BS. There’s always offset language in contracts, this isn’t college football where you have to pony up buyout money from the boosters and oh by the way – the following coaches have been fired in the last two years following extensions – Jeff Fisher and Jack Del Rio. Two notoriously mediocre coaches. I’m not saying Brian Gaine would fire his boy, but he better sit down with his boy before this season goes completely off the rails.