Failure is defined by not achieving a stated goal or result. Usually, a failure occurs when lots of resources, be they tangible, such as money or time spent; or intangible, such as thinking and planning, do not coalesce and produce the desired goal or result. When failure is present, it leaves more often than not a bad taste in everybody’s mouth that toiled and strived to make that result happen. A lot can be learned in failure and that’s where the Houston Texans are at this point. Their failure sits at the intersection of hubris and overestimation.
In my humble opinion, when the Houston Oilers left Houston after the 1996 season, it was a curse on professional football in this city. The late K.S. “Bud” Adams, the longtime owner of the Oilers, decided to relocate the team to Nashville because the Astrodome, which makes me nostalgic to this day, was crumbling in multiple areas and needed a renovation. Adams wanted a new stadium and, because the city wouldn’t finance one, he took the Oilers and left.
Personally, it ripped my heart out. The Oilers were my heart and soul and had been a fixture of this city for 30 years. For Bud Adams to leave because he wanted a new stadium and force an ultimatum on Houston was just heartbreaking. Six years later, the Texans were granted to be the NFL’s 32nd franchise. To be fair, the failures of the Texans really begins with the franchise’s start in 2002 and not just with the current administration’s missteps, because the Texans were an expansion team. They not only got the #1 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, they were allowed to pick from the waiver wire, which are unclaimed players, of the 31 other teams.
That inaugural year, the Texans selected David Carr, who was a quarterback out of Fresno State, and waiver wire pickups, such as Aaron Glenn and Tony Boselli. This is where the problems begin to me. Tony Boselli was an All-Pro and perennial Pro Bowler in his younger days, but, he was past his prime just like some of the other waiver wire pickups. He was supposed to anchor the offensive line, but, he was injury-prone and David Carr got beat up like a piñata behind a weak offensive line. His beatings carried on for 5 painful seasons before the Texans then drafted Matt Schaub with the 90th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Schaub not only wore the same #8 that David Carr did, he got thrown around like a rag doll and made late game interceptions that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Then, between signing undrafted players such as Case Keenum, journeymen such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and failed draft picks such as Brock Osweiler, the Texans won division titles (2012, 2015, 2016) and had playoff appearances (2011, 2012, 2015, 2016). Nonetheless ineffective quarterback play and middling defensive play led to either just making the playoffs and losing in the opening round or not making them at all.
Then, in 2017, the future arrived and his name is Deshaun Watson. He was the 12th pick in that year’s NFL Draft. He has the brain, arms, and legs that have given stability and dynamic qualities to the quarterback position. But, of course, being cursed by the ghosts of the Oilers and the Texans being the Texans, he doesn’t have the right offensive line. He is always running for his life.
And why is that you may ask? Good question!!!
It is because of Bill O’Brien. Bill O’Brien became the Texans’ Head Coach in 2014 and has been making questionable coaching decisions and now, since being promoted to the General Manager position as well, personnel decisions, he traded away DeAndre Hopkins (who since being drafted in 2013, has been one of, it not the top Wide Receiver, in all of the NFL.) The Texans have Laremy Tunsil, who is regarded as one of the top Offensive Lineman in football. He protects Deshaun Watson’s blindside, but, the rest of the line is plenty of question marks. The Running Back position, which was once a strength with Arian Foster, is now manned by the oft-injured David Johnson, who was acquired in the Hopkins’ trade, and Duke Johnson Jr., who was probably 4th on the depth chart in Cleveland. This doesn’t even take into account the mediocre defense regardless of having All-Pros in J.J. Watt and the now-departed Jadeveon Clowney. Speaking of Clowney, he was traded for two underwhelming players and a 3rd-Round draft pick this year. This is exactly why coaches shouldn’t be General Managers! Coaches coach personnel and General Managers get you the best personnel to win championships. It’s almost impossible to do both jobs, with only Bill Belichick having sustained success. That’s why you have one person do each job. It’s just that simple.
The Texans, in 18 years as an NFL franchise, have not shown the aptitude or the attitude, that successful franchises, such as the New Orleans Saints or New England Patriots, possess. They have had the draft picks, free agents, and trades that could have propelled them to excel like the aforementioned teams, but, stubbornness and pride have stunted that growth. At this stage, Bill O’Brien has to let go of his ego and the Houston Texans can turn around the maddening inconsistency that pervades this franchise.
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