A new era of Texans football will begin on Sunday, after the departure of Bill O’Brien. But how much materially changes, as it pertains to this seasons success, will likely be inconsequential. The change was much celebrated but perhaps such rejoice was premature, as it will take time for any marked difference to reach the field.
Often teams show a short term improvement when making a move at head coach. But ultimately it will be the the same players in deep steel bue, who weren’t executing last Sunday, dawning the field against Jacksonville. A fixture that many would have seen as the most winnable of the 2020 slate, will be a test of how far the franchise has fallen over the last 18-months, due to decisions that eroded their talent.
Player, Head Coach disconnect had made its way on to the field, rather unmistakably in the opening four games, which may well dissipate this week. Quite how much of a transformation the Texans show, may be testament to how strong that disconnect had become. Jacksonville, lead by Gardner Minshew, will hope to arrest a three game losing streak and improve on his performance from London, last November. That was last time the teams met and was perhaps Houston’s strongest outing of the year.
The Texans went stale under O’Brien as he juggled his front office responsibilities. Perhaps his broadened role was the undoing of his coaching abilities. As he seemed fixated on coaching fallacies such as, “establishing the run”, i.e. running the ball incessantly, inside the tackles. He continued to double down on errors and chased shadows on expensively acquiring offensive personnel, at the expense of the defence. So Sunday should provide a test-bed, if his personnel mismanagement was either heavily weighted on the front office or on the practice field.
The Texans regardless of their figurehead will need to show-up as an offence that matches their talent. Can they move the move ball putting up scores on a semi-regular basis? Can their defence stop the run? All rudimentary questions, they’ve failed to answer. Can Romeo Crenels’s calming presence, remove multiple fatal flaws on this football team? It would seem unlikely but stranger things have happened.
Twelve games remain this season, games that at very least provide a new complexion to the roster. Regardless if the Texans were to win 10 games and get to the play offs, they are a fundamentally flawed roster. It will require significant iterations and considerable time to correct, if their true aspirations are a championship.
The Texans will perhaps hope they can trade out some players and acquire some value to reinvest in their roster. The concern must be – that process will need to take place prior to bringing in a new GM. As the looming threat of Jack Easterby’s ability to implode the inner sanctum of this franchise’s future, more than he already has, is highly plausible.
Either way, if he’s allowed to do that then, the timelines to correct the very mistakes he has personally overseen, will only have lengthened.
JACKSONVILLE @ HOUSTON; 12 NOON CT; NRG STADIUM; CBS