NFL

Houston Texans’ 0-4 Start Has to Bring Smiles to the Miami Dolphins

The poor start for the Houston Texans cost Bill O’Brien his job. They’ve opened the schedule with four very difficult games and dropped all four. The Texans still boast talent on both sides of the ball in quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt. The Texans are in big trouble, but their 0-4 start brings a little bit of joy to the Miami Dolphins.

The Houston Texans’ rough start

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The first quarter of the Houston Texans 2020 schedule was brutal. They played road games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers and were home to the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings. The Texans had just locked up quarterback Deshaun Watson with a four-year deal worth $160 million and appeared ready to compete. They are 0-4.

The Texans came into the season with a new look. Although Watson was locked up as their long-term quarterback and was entering his fourth year in the league, there were some missing parts. The biggest missing piece was Deandre Hopkins, arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.

Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals prior to the season. In return, the Texans got oft-injured running back David Johnson and a second-round pick. It was a bizarre trade that appears to have clearly benefited the Cardinals. The Texans then replaced Hopkins with veteran wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb.

Texans fire Bill O’Brien

The poor start for the Houston Texans ultimately cost head coach Bill O’Brien his job. O’Brien was relieved of his duties after Houston’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. O’Brien led the Texans to four division titles during his reign. He nearly got the team to its first AFC title game last season but Houston blew a 24-0 lead and went on to lose 51-31 to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“In the end, in this business, it’s a bottom-line business,” O’Brien said, according to ESPN. “We weren’t able to get it to where we needed to get it. … I understand we fell short in terms of taking this team further in the playoffs. But I do leave knowing that myself and this staff gave everything this organization deserved and more. We worked very, very hard to try to get this to a place where it could be a championship program and we just didn’t get it done.

“Couldn’t get it over the hump last year, the year before, and obviously early on this year, but it wasn’t from lack of effort,” O’Brien said. “We did win four division championships here that we’re very proud of; won four division championships in six years. So we did a lot of good things here, but we didn’t do enough.”

The Miami Dolphins will benefit from poor Texans season

Bill O’Brien was fired four games into the season. He leaves as the only coach in Texans history to have a winning record. In 2019, O’Brien was given more power over personnel decisions when general manager Brian Gaine was fired. Although O’Brien wasn’t technically given the GM title, he orchestrated the DeAndre Hopkins trade and another trade that brought former first-round pick Laremy Tunsil to the Texans.

Tunsil, a left tackle, was traded from the Miami Dolphins along with wide receiver Kenny Stills last year. Tunsil and Stills cost the Texans two first-round picks and a second-rounder. The Dolphins have Houston’s first- and second-round picks in 2021.

At the time, the Dolphins were unloading players and clearly building for the future. They landed their franchise quarterback in 2020 by drafting Tua Tagovailoa. Now they’ll have plenty of opportunities to build around him.