The so-called experts have written reams on this topic, but no one has focused on the real reason the franchise quarterback signs a $140 million contract, praises his coach to the heavens, professes love for Houston, and then demands to be traded. I believe the reason is so obvious that everyone has missed it. Watson wants out because Bill O’Brien was fired, pure and simple.
Animosity for the often-abrasive coach and his ghost like executive assistant, primarily within the media, had risen to a fever pitch. O’Brien was responsible for everything that was wrong with anything. In fact, he probably caused the pandemic. Media demand for his head reverberated through the airwaves. The coach who had taken his team two games into the playoffs and had the eventual Super Bowl champion down for the kill became a reprehensible joke for a franchise in, which its twenty years that had never advanced to a championship of any kind.
Disappointment over the Kansas City loss was huge, and I offer little in the coach’s defense. That said, the Texans had won their division with a 10-6 record and advanced in the playoffs. They tied up their franchise quarterback, who openly stated love and admiration for his coach. Optimism for 2020 was high. The team truly looked poised to contend. And then what happened? A worldwide pandemic burst out of nowhere, restricting and suffocating our entire society. The effect on preparation for the 2020 season was immense. There were no PTA’s, preseason games, or real training camp. A team on the come like Houston, with brand new coordinators, critically needed the lost time to adjust. No choice but to forge ahead. None the less, hopes were high.
The Texans’ early schedule with no preseason was murderers’ row. Right out of the box, back to Kansas City to face the Super Bowl champs on their turf. Nobody expected a win, and they lost a competitive game. The Baltimore Ravens and the Lamar Jackson juggernaut were next. The result was another competitive loss, which was disappointing but not surprising. The next week in Pittsburgh, the team lead the Steelers well into the second half but lost again. The Texans were 0-3 against teams that had been an overwhelming 34-14 the previous season.
There were still 13 games to go but when they lost another close game to the Vikings by a touchdown the next week, the naïve, inexperienced, and outright dumb owner cashiered O’Brien on the spot. By doing so, he effectively severed any chance the team had to salvage the season. He fired not only the head coach but a dozen assistants, whom he expected to hang in there and give their all knowing their jobs would be history right after Christmas. From bad to worse. Interim coaches never do well. 5-11 would be a glorious year based upon the last dozen, who have tried. The season was over, rebuilding was ahead. Although his play did not reflect it, that was when Deshaun Watson moved on. He had worked so hard to get the team to where it was knocking on the door. He respected and prospered under Bill, but had no stomach to start over with a new regime and endure the dysfunctional organization’s sloppy efforts to rebuild.
He cited the unilateral decision to hire Nick Caserio as general manager without his input, as his excuse to leave, but the decision was long made by that point. Bill O’Brien knew what he was doing and Deshaun recognized that fact. One last point needs to be made. Bill O’Brien had almost seven years to produce a big winner and hadn’t. His status should have been closely reviewed at season’s end, when he could have been let go. Axing him after four games was shortsighted, absurd, and childish.
Of course, the players were more than happy to replace a strict taskmaster with a pleasant jolly old fellow, who had already showed he could not coach. The owner of a business can hire anyone he damn well pleases, but when he slams the door on the ability of his employees to be successful, he should not be surprised when the best ones head for the door.
Check out my website: https://perfectprocoach.com/