Possible Rift Between O’Brien And Texans

Jay Glazer Hints At A Strained Relationship Between O’Brien And Texans

At first glance I didn’t think too much of Jay Glazer’s tweet saying that O’Brien and the Texans could agree to go separate way if the team exits the playoffs early. The tweet came a half hour before the Titans game.

Sure the offense has been dreadful this season but Bob McNair has shown to be a patient with his coaches, and O’Brien has coached three consecutive 9-win seasons resulting in 2 playoff berths. The defense has remained is one of the best in the league despite key losses in J.J. Watt and Kevin Johnson early in the year.

The question is how serious is Jay Glazer’s tweet and what kind of information gave reason for it. I listened back to a Bill Simmons podcast from this past Spring where he had Jay Glazer on for almost an hour and a half.

In the podcast Glazer talked about how he’s gotten to where he is at because he’s always tried to outwork everybody else. His sources of information have come through constantly making phone calls and building relationships with people. He said doesn’t sleep Saturdays because he’s calling teams, GM’s, players, and coaches.

In 2014 during the first week of October, Glazer said that there was no way that Jim Harbaugh was going to return as head coach even if the team won the Super Bowl. The year prior in 2013, 49ers lost 23-17 to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.

It didn’t make sense that the 49ers would let Harbaugh walk after almost getting to the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons. But Just like Glazer had reported, Harbaugh didn’t return the 49ers after the 2014 season concluded. He was weeks ahead of anybody else on this 49ers story.

Jay Glazer comes off as a genuine person and insider who isn’t going to be putting stuff out there irresponsibly. He showed a disdain for those who don’t care if their information is right.

This quote from Glazer on the podcast is why his tweet shouldn’t be ignored, “I care that my stuff is right, that is it. I’d rather have zero scoops and make sure that everything I say is right than have a million scoops and have a 90% accuracy rate.”

For him to tweet what he did regarding O’Brien and the Texans has to mean that there is some real tension at NRG. It probably has turned into a blame game over the Brock Osweiler situation between O’Brien and Rick Smith. Is Brock simply a bad quarterback and a bust signing? Or Brock’s struggles attributed to the scheme and play calling?

If Glazer says he could see Obrien/Team “parting ways” with a loss presumably against the Raiders, at the very least seeds are being planted for it happening in the near future unless winning softens the friction.

It would be nice to know who for certain was the main advocate in signing Brock Osweiler but we’ll probably never know. It could have been a Bill O’Brien decision, or maybe he was pressured into accepting it.

Three years ago, a soon to be 35 year old Ed Reed, who didn’t fit the defensive scheme in place was forced upon defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. When the signing was announced the Texans had a press conference press conference, and McNair was right there next to Ed Reed addressing the media and taking pictures, along with Rick Smith. Smith was fortunate to have kept his job after the debacle 2013 season, and probably was supporting anything McNair was suggesting.

I bring this up because if the signing of Brock Osweiler was a decision influenced by McNair, or McNair/Smith it wouldn’t be the first time something similar to this has happened.

It would also explain Jay Glazer’s tweet which was sent out 35 minutes before the Texans-Titans game which had Tom Savage as the starter, not Brock Osweiler. If Osweiler is McNair/Smith’s guy they want to see him out there. In their minds Tom Savage might not shown them in the Bengals game for them to accept that Osweiler should sit considering the fact that the Texans were lucky to come away with the victory on a missed field goal.

Jay Glazer’s report might have been a way for the Texans to either further pressure O’Brien, or let the public know that if O’Brien sticks with Savage and fails that changes are imminent.

The funny thing about this whole O’Brien/Team story brought to light by Glazer is that if Brock Osweiler is in fact at the root of the issue, he’s going to start against the Raiders anyway due to Savage being stuck in the concussion protocol.

If Osweiler plays well against the Raiders this Saturday there is no way O’Brien is going to sit him in favor Savage for the next round of the playoffs. It would take another mediocre offensive performance where the team squeaks out 10-6 victory, or something to that nature.

Maybe Osweiler figured things out after having his two weeks off from being starter. Maybe he has some success in these playoffs and all the smoke clears, cooling the tensions brewing within the organization.

I can see how it may seem a little farfetched that there is turmoil at NRG right now caused by O’Brien’s benching of Osweiler against the Jaguars. It should be 100% clear to everybody following the Texans that if Osweiler wasn’t benched in that game they were going to lose the game and their playoff hopes.

However, there were actually people out there that felt Brock Osweiler should have remained the starter. Osweiler had been one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks and somehow still had apologists, Texans owner Bob McNair possibly being the biggest one.

Bob McNair has made some very questionable comments in defense of Brock Osweiler’s play this season.  After the victory over the Lions in week 8, among the words of encouragement for Osweiler’s play was McNair saying, “He’s still basically a rookie”. After the tough loss to the Packers a month ago McNair pleaded to the fans saying, “Don’t be critical of him. He played well”. McNair called the decision to bench Osweiler a “gutsy call”.

There is nothing wrong with McNair wanting to defend his player, especially the player that is supposed to be the “franchise quarterback”. But at certain point it becomes too much in terms of excuse making and babying.

It is easier to look past Bob McNair’s plea to the fans not to be critical of Osweiler after the Packers game because it was played on the road in a blizzard. But to say Osweiler, who is in his 5th year in the league and had 15 starts to his name, is basically a rookie was ridiculous.

Describing the benching of Osweiler as a gutsy call after throwing his second interception on consecutive possessions within a quarter is ridiculous. It was the obvious call to make because if not, you were on your way to losing and seeing playoff aspirations fade.

It would make sense that McNair had a big impact in bringing Osweiler here based off the way in which he has defended him.

Ideally I think the best time to have made the change to Tom Savage would have been after the Lions game heading into bye week. Realistically that was never going to happen, especially when the team the being 5-3 at that point.

It would have been “gutsy” to insert Tom Savage at halftime of the Chargers game, or to start him on the road against the Packers the following game.

In Bill O’Brien’s first season with the Texans in 2014, he passed over three notable quarterbacks. Blake Bortles, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garapolo were all up for grabs, but O’Brien waited until the 4th round to take Tom Savage. There was history between the two dating back to college with O’Brien was trying to recruit Savage.

When Savage was forced into action late in the 2014 he was not ready, he literally had issues handing the ball off to his running back. Savage redeemed himself in 2015 looking like a much improved quarterback in the preseason, but ended up on IR after hurting his shoulder in one of the games.

With the strides Savage made as a quarterback, my thought was that O’Brien would go into 2016 with him and a new quarterback drafted within the top 2 rounds.

When the Texans shocking stole Brock Osweiler away from the Broncos I was initially upset with the move. It became easier to stomach after a couple days went by because just like with any move that is made you begin to think about the positive aspects of it. Brock Osweiler made some sense because the Texans probably felt that this team, with this defense and J.J. Watt in his prime is ready to win now.

Brock Osweiler might not have been O’Brien’s first choice but went along with it because the situation could have been seen as a low risk, high reward. Osweiler showed some promise and ability on a championship team, but was unfairly replaced at first opportunity when an NFL legend in his last leg was ready to play again.

It was also probably hard for O’Brien to make a strong case against the signing of Brock with the quarterback situation still in limbo two years in.

You couldn’t have predicted that Brock Osweiler was going to turn out to be as bad and inconsistent as he has been this season.  The simple explanation is that Gary Kubiak’s run first, play-action system was a perfect fit for Brock Osweiler. Chris Anderson was playing well, and he two pros at wide receiver in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.

Unlike most people right now, I’m actually intrigued to see how Brock Osweiler will do against the Raiders this Saturday because I do think he corrected some of his issues and looked slightly improved in the Titans game.

I should know better by this point than to be tricked into believing that Osweiler being benched may have bettered him and suddenly he is going to play like a respectable quarterback. Brock has looked okay at times this season but then routinely followed it up with bad play.

It is no secret that Rick Smith is in tight with Bob McNair, in July Rick Smith’s contract was extended four years. The team made an investment with Brock Osweiler and they would love nothing more than for him to redeem himself and prove that he can be the franchise quarterback.

Glazer’s tweet could have been suggesting that McNair/Smith wanted to see Osweiler through even if it meant cutting ties with O’Brien. For the time being that is not an issue, it looks like O’Brien will have to stick it out with Osweiler in the playoffs anyway because of Tom Savage’s inability to stay on the field. In 2014 Savage had a leg injury, last year it was his shoulder, and last week it was a concussion.

Brock has the opportunity to change everybody’s opinion of him, or can confirm what we already know.

 

 

 

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