Two To-Do's For the Texans

Jan 20, 2020

Brady King


Photo Cred: AP Images
Deshaun Watson had a rough week. 

The Texans were knocked out of the playoffs last Sunday in record-breaking fashion. Shortly after, his alma mater Clemson took an L by three possessions in the CFP Title Game. 

At least he had a better week than the Astros.

Watson had a good year overall. Statistically, he was solid, and next year he can be even better. His numbers off the field can also improve if the Texans decide to reward their young Pro Bowler with an extension this offseason. It’s either that or they play the long game of picking up the 5th-year option followed by a franchise tag.

Along with Watson’s contract situation, another problem facing Houston this offseason is that the AFC South is proving to be one of the strongest divisions in football. If the Jaguars and Colts did not have to overcome QB1 issues, who knows how competitive they would have been. The Jaguars had the best record out of all division losers this year. The Colts have drafted well and have an insane amount of cap space for 2020. Mike Vrabel clearly has established a winning culture in Tennessee, and if Ryan Tannehill’s resurgence is sustainable, they’ll be in the mix next year.

With this highly competitive mix, the onus falls on the Texans’ management to make this off-season count. But if you bleed deep steel blue, battle red, and liberty white, you may have more confidence in Mattress Mack’s gambling than the Texans. (I’m going somewhere with the baseball allusions...)

Janice McNair, Bob McNair’s widow, is the senior chair and owner of the Texans. Needless to say, she’s no Gene Jones. Fortunately, though, her son D. Cal McNair, the chairman and CEO, has been groomed similarly to Stephen Jones. But how prepared is he to take the franchise to the next level?

Chris Olsen is the interim GM, but this placeholder title is unnecessary. His regular position is senior Vice President of Football Administration. According to the Texans’ website, Olsen's primary responsibility with the Texans is negotiating player contracts and managing the salary cap. It appears the Texans are going to settle for their current status quo and hold off on hiring somebody to be the GM.

But then there’s head coach Bill O’Brien, whose mismanagement of their divisional loss has brought into question his adeptness as a head coach. While his stint with Penn State in 2012-2013 was surely noble, his best success clearly came while an assistant for the Brady-Belichick juggernaut. The Belichick coaching tree hasn’t been all that impressive outside Foxborough.  

All of this boils down to two clear issues for the Texans this offseason: Who will be the GM? And will they get a new coach?

Let’s go over O’Brien’s resume as pseudo-GM:
Gave up a third-round pick to the Browns for running back Duke Johnson
Gave up two first-round picks and a second-rounder to the Dolphins for left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills
Gave up a third-rounder for Raiders corner Gareon Conley
Traded away Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks for linebackers Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo and a 2020 third-round pick.
Gave up a sixth-round pick for reserve defensive back Keion Crossen.

It seems O’Brien’s approach to asset evaluation is flawed. He is not a general manager and I’m sure the Belichick GM tree isn’t any more bountiful than his coaching cactus.

In regards to what the Texans should do, I have two suggestions:

The Houston Texans should hire former Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow as their General Manager.

When Luhnow took over for the Astros, he had no previous experience in baseball and had not played the sport past high school. If you want to throw out the objection relating to his football inexperience, I’d also be happy to do research on the playing experience of all current NFL GM’s. 

Besides, Bill O’Brien is no stranger to a cheating culture thanks to the Patriots. He and Jeff would get along great. If there is one lesson we have learned from professional sports, it’s this: if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

Al Davis said it best, “Just win, baby.” I’d bet Momma McNair would sign that check. If not, maybe Jim McIngvale would. 

The Houston Texans should hire Greg Roman as their head coach.

We saw what Roman did with Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. He understands football math. When you leverage the quarterback as a runner, you add a blocker to the play. Football is evolving. Roman understands that having an athletic quarterback who is a true dual threat can be one of the greatest assets to a team in today’s NFL.

The personnel would need some pieces, but that’s what free agency and the draft are for. The philosophy is what matters most. As an added bonus, Roman was with the Texans organization for four years from 2002-2005, so the McNair’s have familiarity with him.

It would mean goodbye to Bill O’Brien, but you need to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Houston doesn’t want to continue on the same path the Dallas Cowboys went on with Jason Garrett. 

They don’t want to be the best in Texas; they want to be the best in the world. 


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