Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien Should Be Furious with his General Manager
BY ADAM GREENE
“Either he goes or I go!” Bill O’Brien should scream at Houston Texans owner Janice McNair.
O’Brien isn’t the best coach to begin with. Actually, he’s kind of garbage so he should know there’s absolutely no chance he can get the Texans to the Super Bowl without star players. After discovering that his general manager has traded away his second best offensive player and one of the three best wide receivers in the league to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, he should make it perfectly clear.
He can not win under these conditions. For head coach Bill O’Brien’s sake, he should immediately demand the Texans fire and replace their general manager, Bill O’Brien.
How did the Texans get here? A team with so much talent that they have managed, in spite of his best efforts at gameday coaching, strategy and play design, to keep Bill O’Brien employed for… checks notes… SIX YEARS! Good God. Since 2014.
I mean, Barack Obama was president then. That’s like two global pandemics ago.
In June of last year, O’Brien found himself in a power struggle with the team’s former GM Brian Gaine. One in which Gaine, in spite of being qualified and employed in NFL front offices (including the Texans’) somehow lost. Gaine was shot out the airlock and landed in Buffalo as their senior personnel advisor. A team that went 10-6 last season, made the postseason and nearly upset the Texans in the playoffs. Houston held them off 22-19 in spite of having them outmanned at nearly every position on the field.
But leave it to Bill O’Brien to fix that.
Since he was selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Hopkins has only twice not crossed 1,000 yards receiving. Even when he didn’t hit the 1,000-yard mark in 2016 with Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage as his quarterbacks, he still caught 78 passes and four touchdowns. He led the league in TD catches in 2017 with 13 and last year caught 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns.
When the Texans were forced to come from behind (down 13-0 at the half) to beat the Bills in the playoffs, it was Hopkins who teamed up with Deshaun Watson, arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL, to make it happen. He finished with six catches for 90 yards and a score in spite of being all but blanked on the stat sheet in the first half.
That’s who O’Brien traded away.
And who did he get?
David Johnson, a running back with injury issues that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2016. Last year Johnson started nine games, played in 13 and rushed for 345 yards and two touchdowns while catching 36 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns. All while holding the then fourth-biggest running back contract in the league at $13 million a season. After the Los Angeles Rams cut Todd Gurley, it’s now the third biggest RB contract. That’s what Houston just added to its cap.
The Texans also received second and fourth round picks from Arizona. I’m sure general manager Bill O’Brien knows exactly what to do with those.
This isn’t the first time O’Brien has ridded his team of one of its four best players. Last year, he shipped star edge rusher Jadaveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for some magic beans, a couple of Carl’s Jr. coupons and a half-eaten Little Debbie Pican Spinwheel.
So what was the reason for O’Brien’s sudden urge to consciously uncouple his team from its best wide receiver? Apparently, he thought Hopkins had too many kids, or girlfriends or a mix of both. He also allegedly accused him of being into some shady practices, comparing him to former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
For some reason, Hopkins didn’t appreciate the comparison or comments on his personal life. Instead of mending that fence and maybe staying off Hopkins’ Instagram, O’Brien decided his team needed to acquire one of the worst running back contracts in league history and send Deshaun Watson out to battle with no receiver he could really count on.
It’s a bold GM move, to say the least. Let’s see how head coach Bill O’Brien handles it.
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