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Opinion: Houston, you’re beyond a Bill O’Brien problem

Opinion: Houston, you're beyond a Bill O'Brien problem
Jan 12, 2020; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in a AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With DeAndre Hopkins sent packing to the Arizona Cardinals, the Houston Texans are now the biggest losers of the offseason. When the dominos fall and the flames begin to dwindle, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien will be the only man to blame. And as fans clobber to ticket offices demanding refunds on their thousand dollars and the revenue with the club becomes the laughing stock of the NFL, O’Brien will either not care, or for better, be long gone from NRG Drive.

Because only an incompetent, irrational ideologist would believe that trading away a worn-torn running back for an All-Pro wide receiver would be the obvious answer. Even most moronic nut jobs would second guess the offer on the table sent over from Steve Keim’s office and scoff at with disgust with that kind of offer.

Not O’Brien. In fact, it’s a deal that makes perfect sense in the mind of Bill Belichick lite.

When “COVID-19” becomes the second most talked about thing on Twitter, you know, the epidemic that’s shutting the world down, there’s a problem at hand.

And yet just days after the most significant event in the fourth largest city in America closed its doors to protect the locals, O’Brien decided to kick them while they’re down — putting the one constant offensive weapon on the chopping block, blindsiding thousands to a season of a sour taste.

Let’s just call it like it is. O’Brien dropped Nuk, and the Nuk exploded back in the city of Houston’s face.

With the Cardinals trading for Hopkins, they will now look to contend soon. Keim, who received a mulligan in drafting Kyler Murray last season, will now give him two weapons to build off for the 2020 season and beyond. The team’s salary cap will allow them to provide Hopkins with a new deal before his three-year contract comes to a close.

But then again, Houston could have as well with their $47.5 million cap space, right? Even with signing Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil to extensions, the O’Brien general manager could have stuffed some money under his mattress of power before letting Hopkins walk.

But no, not the case. Instead, O’Brien continues to believe that just because his name is Bill, he’s remotely close to one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. And one could laugh at the analogy just by looking at what Belichick would have likely traded away for someone like a declining David Johnson.

It would be one thing to question the move should this be the first time O’Brien made a call. But instead, this will be the third strike on the laundry list of mistakes calling the shots from the front office. Waiting to trade Jadeveon Clowney in a weak market brought in an inconsistent Gareon Conley and situational pass-rusher Jacob Martin. While bringing in Kenny Stills and Tunsil will provide something to the offense, but the cost of two first-round picks and a day 2 pick will never entice the crowd.

But to trade a household name? For what, an aging running back and a pair of draft picks outside the top 10? This is who Cal McNair will trust to bring the team to a title? For Watson to trust as the man in command? For fans to believe each season that this is their year?

When Madden laughs at a trade, it’s because they believe it could never be done. The line on the lighted screen said red, but O’Brien gave it the green thumbs up anyways.

Not only will the Texans lose a star offensive weapon, but they’ll be paying off the rest of Johnson’s three-year, $39 million contract through 2021. And in reality, this could have been a great move by the nemesis of the Bayou City. Take for instance last year the meteoric rise of Carlos Hyde and the race to a 1,000-yard pace?

A rebound running back leading the way to a playoff potential powerhouse? Who could have guessed?

But unless you’re walking away with what you gave up for Tunsil, who still has yet to be signed, you lost this round. But what’s worse? How much respect you’ve lost around the league.

Hopkins was the face of the franchise. One could argue J.J. Watt or even the wondrous Watson as the new name, but Hopkins was it. Not because of an outlandish personality that would entice drama among the media moguls. Not the flashy jewelry or “give-me” attitude when it came to the offense.

It was his consistency of play that shined bright since 2013, which made him the face. And now that face will be hidden in the shadows.

Hopkins was the one salvage standout of the Texans offense since Rick Smith made the call to find Andre Johnson’s successor. Week in and week out, with names of quarterbacks that would have the smartest people in the world stumped on Jeopardy, the former Clemson star gave it his all. And when the offense finally looked to be in place as the identity of the franchise, he was traded for chump change.

Because this was an O’Brien move. This is what happens when incompetent coaches are allowed to take control, make their demands and have no one stopping them from becoming the leader of a crumbling franchise.

Since the start of the century, 11 first-round receivers have been traded for a first-round selection. Outside of Randy Moss and Odell Beckham Jr., who could compete with Hopkins’ numbers? Don’t waste your breath. No one can.

The Texans fixed a need by adding in draft picks but now have more concerns than ever on their long-term future. Watson’s progression will rely on Will Fuller, who’s played in 28 games since 2017 and whoever the team uses with the 40th pick.

O’Brien’s been on trial with the fans base of battle red and steel blue since electing to start Tom Savage over a rookie Deshaun Watson. He certainly moved into the jurors’ vote when he elected to allow multiple defenders walk last offseason.

But Monday’s mega-move will now find him guilty in the first-degree of being anything competent to that of a pee-wee coach who starts his son at quarterback because its ‘his team, his rules’.

But reality check; it’s O’Brien’s team, so the executioner won’t be flipping the switch to pay justice to the fans of the Texans anytime soon. Instead, he’ll walk scot-free to the facility, knowing his actions mean nothing to his security.

Sorry Houston, O’Brien just brought your title chance out O’Luck.

Cole Thompson is a lead writer for PFN. You can follow him on Twitter @MrColeThompson, and follow PFN @PFN365

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