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I think this outcome was how most people figured it would/could go – Houston wins fairly easily. You’re asking the Raiders to try to win a game with Connor Cook, who I would argue wasn’t draftable as a talent last year…much less a 4th-round pick that some NFL GMs were trying to trade to get at some point. Cook was ‘Cook’, Jack Del Rio did his RB rotation thing I don’t get, and Amari Cooper touched the ball twice (off 10 targets)…so, yeah, the Raiders got handled.
Now, what do you do if you’re Houston? You just got lucky and drew a Raiders team down to its third-string QB in the first round. You’re off to Foxborough taking on a team that crushed you when they played their third-string QB (Jacoby Brissett). Do you go in there with the same ‘problem’/plan (Osweiler) and try to have a different outcome?
To me, everything you want to know about the NFL mentalities and NFL head coaches is going to be laid bare in front of us in this game. Most head coaches are worse than your worst corporate boss. They talk a good game, but in the end they are flawed humans like most of us. They love to tell players what to do and to ‘leave it all on the field’, etc. They’ll demand every ounce of effort, hustle, loyalty…and then they will do the politically safest and dumbest things possible – like starting Brock Osweiler and hoping for a different result.
All Osweiler has done is shown to everyone that he’s not a quarterback capable of beating New England. You have 17 games of tape and results this season to prove it. Everyone knows the Texans cannot go to New England and beat the Patriots with Osweiler at QB. Even if they get all the breaks early…you’re not beating New England as they’re currently constituted or as the Texans are constituted. Thus, the embarrassing -16.0 spread.
The Texans have one ace up their sleeve to play. It probably won’t work, but maybe… You could roll out the quarterback who the Patriots don’t have much tape on. You could go with the guy you know has talent, as do your coaches and players. You take the talented, player-supported guy, who is an ‘unknown’ – and you try to throw that curveball. Michael Lombardi, former Pats GM and now budding NFL star analyst, quoted Mark Twain a few weeks ago, about why Houston might be dangerous in the playoffs. The full Twain quote: “…there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight. Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him.”
– Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Bill O’Brien is going to try to beat the world’s best NFL team by taking the same, predictable, failed approach…an approach that failed miserably earlier in the year. He’s going to start Brock Osweiler over Tom Savage. If he does so, he’s going to lose…and deservedly so.
Here’s why, I think, O’Brien is ‘motivated’ to start Osweiler…and it is a selfish and self-preserving reason, but NFL coaches are almost induced to do such things in their profession (and we might all do the same, who knows). The Texans are very likely going to lose to New England…probably slaughtered – no matter who the QB is. If O’Brien loses with Osweiler…who is going to get the blame? The coach…or the GM/owner who never met with Osweiler before inking him to a $36M guaranteed/$72M total deal? The head coach who was not heavily involved in the decision to sign Osweiler (which is a mega-slap in the face to the coach) can try to win a playoff game and get all the glory for a miraculous game plan, and he will try to win, but if he loses (likely)…all the blame will go to the GM/owner. A no-lose situation for O’Brien.
However, if O’Brien defies management and goes with the unorthodox Savage approach and gets crushed…he can get saddled with some/a lot of the blame for that. The smart political move, the self-security move…the zinger back at the people who didn’t involve you in the very critical free agent quarterback decision – is to start Osweiler and watch it burn to the ground.
Now, there is one other possible outcome…and this would be ‘playing to win’…and that’s for O’Brien to have named Osweiler early, like he did, and everyone goes running with that. On Saturday midday/pregame you have a sudden change of heart and announce Savage as the new starter and will have played a huge con job on the Patriots. That would be ‘leaving it all on the field’. Using every legal trick in the book to slay Goliath.
Which path do you think O’Brien will take? I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the ‘Osweiler starting’ path.
I’m also 33% sure O’Brien will be fired soon after the game. I’m 33% sure O’Brien will resign after the game. I’m 33% sure O’Brien is back for one more season. 1% margin of error. The problems behind the scenes are worse than we know…or so I am told.
— Brock Osweiler (14-25 for 168 yards and 1 TD/0 INT) did complete 56% of his passes for all of 168 yards…so, obviously, he’s earned the right…
The more I think about it the more I believe the Texans’ starting QB for next season is not on the roster right now. Osweiler cannot be the starter next year…there will be a revolt. Tom Savage is unproven and would be an embarrassment to the GM if he worked out, and to have had the answer sitting there all along. No. The Texans have a legit Super Bowl contending roster in 2017…except for at QB. Whether it is Tony Romo or a big-name draft pick or whomever…something has to change at QB and it can’t be from within. The money they might pay Tony Romo could be obscene. The best thing that ever happened to Romo’s bank account may be Dak Prescott.
If Romo is in Houston…
Stock up for DeAndre Hopkins (5-67-1/9 targets), for fantasy, obviously.
You have to like C.J. Fiedorowicz (2-35-0/4 targets) to continue his TE1 ways.
I’m not a Will Fuller (4-37-0/5 targets) fan. He would be like a Terrance Williams guy with Romo. TDs, and not a whole lot else.
— Latavius Murray (12-39-1, 1-12-0/4 targets) is now a free agent. Unlikely to re-sign with Oakland and not going to be franchise-tagged.
Where will he wind up? My early bet – the Washington Redskins.
What will Oakland do for an RB? They’ll draft another one mid-draft or sign a middle-tier free agent and do their ultimate hot hand rotation. I’m all for a rotational backfield, for NFL purposes (not for FF – I hate it), but you ideally want some talented guys in the rotation. You’re not going to the promised land with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
Oakland’s key RB for fantasy 2017 likely isn’t on the team right now.
— Because this game was a stinker, you may not have paid much attention to Andre Holmes (4-50-1/5 targets), but he played another really good game/made nice catches. Why in the world Jack Del Rio starts Seth Roberts (1-1-0/7 targets) over Holmes all year is completely inexplicable.
I lost track of his contract status – Holmes is a free agent in 2017. I thought it was 2018. You have some dynasty stash hopes here, but at his age, etc. he’d have to land perfect and not just be ‘extra guy’/fourth WR and special teamer rounding out the roster.
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