Deshaun Watson was rewarded for his unique talent and what he brings to the Houston Texans with a four-year, $160 million extension this offseason. That was the only rewarding thing that came out of 2020 for him or the Texans, as their season was disappointing. Houston’s 4-12 record is far below the expectations many had for them this season.
Nevertheless, that is where they are. Now that the offseason has started for the Texans, they search for a new head coach and general manager. Their franchise quarterback provided them with some advice in their search that could change the franchise’s future.
The Texans have failed Deshaun Watson
Four seasons into his career, Deshaun Watson has proven that he is one of the game’s best quarterbacks. His dual-threat ability makes him such a valuable talent, along with his clutch gene. It’s sad to say that the Texans have failed him up to this point in his career.
Former Texans coach Bill O’Brien dismantled Houston’s roster, making several questionable trades when he was both the head coach and general manager. His most notorious move was trading Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick.. Watson and Hopkins were one of the best quarterback/wide receiver duos in the NFL. Getting rid of Watson’s top target didn’t make much sense.
Not providing him any protection doesn’t make much sense either. Watson was sacked 49 times this season, second-most of any quarterback per ESPN. In three full seasons as the starter, the former Clemson quarterback has been sacked 155 times. Watson can only take so much punishment before it wears on him.
Along with no protection, Houston hasn’t provided Watson with much defensive help either. The Texans gave up the third-most yards per game this season (416.8). He can’t win every shootout, so he needs to receive more help from his defense. The Texans are wasting Deshaun Watson’s career, failing to protect him, not assembling talent around him, and not finding a coach who values and correctly uses his skillset.
Deshaun Watson gives a blueprint for hiring the next head coach
The Texans fired O’Brien as general manager and head coach in October. It is likely that Watson is going to be involved in both searches, given that he is the key to the success of the Texans. He gave his analysis of what the next head coach should bring to the table.
“We just need a whole culture shift. We just need new energy. We just need discipline. We need structure. We need a leader so we can follow that leader as players. That’s what we need,” said Watson per ESPN. O’Brien didn’t form the best relationships with his star players, which could’ve led to the sour culture that now permeates through the Texans organization.
A lack of unity was also an issue for Houston. It seemed like everyone was operating on a different clock, with a different mindset. That was most evident when O’Brien made some of his questionable decisions. Watson noted that is another area this head coach needs to be strong in.
“We’ve all got to be on the same page. There’s too many different minds, too many different ideas, and too many people thinking they have this power, and it’s not like that. We need someone that stands tall, and this is who we follow, and this is the way it goes,” Watson said.
What are the Texans’ options at head coach?
The Texans are one of six NFL teams looking for a head coach, so they might be competing with other teams for the person they want. They have been searching for a replacement since they fired O’Brien but couldn’t interview candidates already employed by other NFL teams. Now that the regular season is over, they can now expand their search into current NFL coaches.
According to ESPN, the Texans have an interview scheduled with Indianapolis Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Eberflus has led Indianapolis to have one of the best defenses in the league this season. This would be right down Houston’s way, as the defense is a sore spot. Having a defensive-minded coach would be an excellent way for the Texans to sure up that side of the ball.
The Texans have also put in an interview request for Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. Smith has shown how a great line and a powerful run game can lead the way. Houston’s offensive line needs some work, and they ranked second to last in rush yards per game (91.6). This would be another smart choice given the Texans’ problems at O-line and in the running game.
The Texans need to listen to Deshaun Watson’s advice regarding their head coaching search. There was no leadership or accountability when O’Brien was in control, and that needs to change. Watson has spoken to Texans CEO Cal McNair already, making sure his desires are heard. Houston has a problem, but their franchise quarterback just gave them the blueprint to fix it.
All stats courtesy of ESPN