Houston Texans Continue to Be Hamstrung By Bill O’Brien, Abysmal O-Line Play

John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Houston Texans don’t know what they’re doing. 

Deshaun Watson survived his initial NFL start with a 13-9 feat Thursday over a Cincinnati Bengals during Paul Brown Stadium no interjection to Texans conduct manager Bill O’Brien and a descent line. 

The play-calling via was horrid. At first, O’Brien’s regressive inlet hamstrung Watson, while a Texans apparently didn’t comprehend they were winning late in a competition and supposing a confusing set of play calls.

If not for Watson’s ability to improvise and work outward a scheme’s structure, a Texans would be winless instead of 1-1. 

But they did win, and any manager will take an nauseous feat over a well-played loss. These warts won’t blur anytime soon, though. 

Multiple excuses were built into Thursday’s competition before a singular down was played: Watson done his initial start on a highway after pang a slight ankle damage during a brief week of preparation. Each was a reason for a quarterback not to succeed. 

O’Brien usually done Watson’s predicament some-more difficult. The manager didn’t seem to have any certainty in his first-year signal-caller. 

Obviously, a Texans were short-handed. The offense was down to a fourth parsimonious finish and had usually 3 far-reaching receivers. Yet a use of an additional descent lineman and an apparent devise of attack, that entailed force-feeding a using diversion opposite a gifted Cincinnati Bengals defensive front, didn’t work.

This proceed hindered Watson’s healthy ability and didn’t assistance settle a comfort turn for him. 

Simplification doesn’t need to meant a run-based offense with parsimonious formations and Watson underneath center. O’Brien could have implemented some-more of a things Watson did during Clemson. But he unsuccessful to. 

The first-round collect was a luminary in college. The Tigers built an offense around his ability to get a round out fast and accurately formed on half-field and elementary reads. He’s able of doing more, yet this proceed would have been an ideal initial step. 

Watson wasn’t a initial rookie to start during quarterback this season, either. The Cleveland Browns already anointed DeShone Kizer their authorization signal-caller. Cleveland conduct manager Hue Jackson supposing a opposite proceed compared to O’Brien.

Jackson widespread a field, motioned often, used dash and kept Kizer predominantly in shotgun to extent a Pittsburgh Steelers‘ defensive options in Week 1. The Browns didn’t need to facilitate a offense, though, given a manager schemed ways to make his pre-snap reads easier. 

Houston Texans conduct manager Bill O’Brien talks with quarterback Deshaun Watson during Thursday’s 13-9 feat over a Cincinnati Bengals.John Grieshop/Getty Images

Almost nothing of this can be pronounced of a Texans’ approach. Yes, Watson was in shotgun some-more during a second half, and he was given easier reads as he generally threw to DeAndre Hopkins. 

Yet O’Brien inexplicably placed some-more responsibility on his quarterback late in a diversion than he did during any prior point. With his organisation winning 10-9 with 3:40 remaining in a fourth quarter, O’Brien had Watson dump behind to pass 3 of 4 times. The usually run came when a Texans faced 1st-and-20 after Hopkins was called for pass interference. 

The Texans didn’t wish to put a round in Watson’s hands and let him play. Instead, O’Brien waited until it was roughly too late, and a organisation hardly managed adequate to win a contest. 

Frankly, a rookie didn’t play all that well, yet his healthy ability took over when a Texans indispensable it a most. Watson supposing a determining measure when he ran 49 yards for his initial veteran rushing touchdown, that done it 10-3 late in a second entertain after a additional indicate was tacked on, as a NFL’s central site relayed: 

The run became a longest by a Texans actor given 2014 when using behind Arian Foster supposing a 51-yard jaunt, per ESPN Stats Info. As a passer, Watson finished 15 of 24 passes for 125 yards. 

The 22-year-old might have issues with gripping his eyes adult when pressured, yet few quarterbacks can yield a same hint when they decide to run. It comes naturally to Watson, and this is a area where he needs to find his groove. 

“He only has that ability and that knack,” O’Brien pronounced of Watson, per a Houston Chronicle‘s Brian T. Smith. “… Overall he did a good pursuit and he was intelligent with a ball.”

O’Brien can’t micro-manage any competition in an try to extent rookie mistakes. They’re going to happen. But Watson can be during his best when he’s improvising and permitting his instincts to take over. 

The quarterback will need to do so, as Houston’s descent line is such a tying factor. 

The coaching staff done changes after a organisation surrendered 10 sacks to a Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1. The new organisation valid to be incompletely better. Veteran Chris Clark took over during left tackle. He had his hands full, generally with rookie pass-rusher Carl Lawson. Greg Mancz was extrinsic as a starter during right guard. 

Houston still surrendered 3 sacks, 5 some-more quarterback hits and consistently mislaid during a indicate of attack. 

Nothing brief of signing Duane Brown to a agreement prolongation and looking during a best accessible giveaway agents (John Greco? Nick Mangold? Branden Albert? Jeremy Zuttah?) will make this section better. 

Watson’s mobility helps in certain cases, yet he’s also going to be indeterminate in his drops, reason a round too prolonged and do a things rookies mostly do. A arguable descent line can equivalent these issues. The Texans descent line is a farthest thing from reliable, though. 

O’Brien should span Watson with associate rookie D’Onta Foreman. NFL using backs are asked to make their possess holes during times. Every run play won’t be ideally blocked, and those backs who wait mostly find themselves on a belligerent behind a line of scrimmage. Foreman ran tough opposite a Bengals with 12 carries for 40 yards. 

Lamar Miller might have supposing a organisation with a 1,000-yard deteriorate in 2016, yet a 5’10” behind is not a form of curtain a Texans need right now. Foreman is. This year’s third-round collect is a 6’0″, 235-pound pile-mover. He’ll get a tough yards, and he’s used to using out of shotgun formation. 

Catering a offense to a quarterback, doing all probable to urge a descent line and holding a opposite proceed in a backfield are elementary moves a Texans can make to urge a conditions around Watson. 

If a classification does these things, Houston will finally demeanour like it knows what it’s doing. 


Brent Sobleski covers a NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @brentsobleski.

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