I dusted off this gem from one of my columns from October, 2015:
Bill O’Brien made the right call before the season started when he chose Brian Hoyer to be the Texans’ starting QB. However, after that he:
- Pulled Hoyer in his first start for Ryan Mallett
- Stuck with the terrible Mallet through 2 full starts
- Pulled Mallett in his third start
- Gave Mallett yet another start, only to pull him for Hoyer, who almost pulled off a comeback
- Went back to Hoyer for the team’s Week 6 game against the Jags
So, he wasted five weeks, only to end up back where he started.
The Texans started 1-4 that season, but made the playoffs thanks to Hoyer (19 TDs, 7 INTs in only 11 games, including just 9 starts), and with help from TJ Yates, who filled in when Hoyer got concussed late in the season, and Brandon Weeden, who filled in when Yates got hurt.
O’Brien bugs me. I’ve heard him called a “quarterback guru” by some experts. In 2015, with a very talented team, he almost sunk the season with his early QB waffling.
Which brings us to…
Houston at Cincinnati
An embarrassingly lopsided home loss, featuring terrible offensive line play that made it seem as though the QB were under siege. That this statement could describe either the Texans or the Bengals makes me wonder two things: is this game even worth watching, and how do I pick a winner of a game between these two losers?
Both of these teams have, and have had, loads of talent, which has been wasted without proper coaching, guidance, and leadership. Last week in my AFC Preview, I outlined the problems with discipline that Marvin Lewis’s Cincy teams have had. The Bengals have no problems parting with quality players (and people) like Mohamed Sanu and Andrew Whitworth (Think Cincy could use a Pro-Bowler on the OL right now?), while bringing in the likes of Joe Mixon.
The Texans’ discipline problems seem to be more a matter of preparation, which is indicative of poor coaching. Here’s the rest of that 2015 excerpt about O’Brien that I included above:
"O’Brien might be the worst coach in the league. His total lack of leadership is reflected in the team’s unfocused play, in things such as the talented defence looking lost at times, and the team’s numerous penalties."
In last week’s loss to the Jags, Houston looked disorganized. Besides the problems on offence, the vaunted defence did little to keep the Texans in the game, and the team accumulated 94 yards in penalties. Same old O'Brien.
Based on one week, which, admittedly, isn’t much to go on, these teams seem to be pretty evenly-matched. When a pick is this tough, I look for any kind of small edge that one team or the other might have that will tip the balance. In doing a little research, I discovered that all three Houston TEs that were active for last week’s game will not play tonight; all three are injured, two are listed as “Out,” and the other has been placed on IR. As a result, the Texans signed a TE off their practice squad yesterday. In a tight contest, with the Texans breaking in a rookie QB making his first start, ball-control and the running game should be paramount. With only one TE available, and a practice squad player at that, plus with a sketchy OL, I question whether Houston will be able to run the ball effectively. True, the Bengals’ OL problems contributed to Andy Dalton’s opening day disaster, but Dalton’s experience, plus the plethora of offensive complements at his disposal, might help mitigate the OL’s deficiencies.
So, I’m taking the home team. Let’s see if Marvin Lewis has his charges prepared.