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ET80

BYE WEEK GDT - MID SEASON-ish AWARDS

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And... here we are.

A little past the halfway point, and our Houston Texans are 6-3, coming back from a trip across the pond with a convincing 26-3 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars (and the beating heart of "Minshew Mania" in a glass jar - the hype is dead, and we killed it).

Needless to say, we're at a good point to give out some mid-season awards. Let's dive right into it...

Team MVP: Deshaun Watson (2,432 yards, 18 TDs/5 INTs).

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I think this is a no brainer. Deshaun Watson has taken his efforts to another level this season, elevating his game to elite status. Watson has been the catalyst of an exciting offense, using his legs, head and mind to evicerate defenses on a weekly basis, and is now firmly entrenched in the Top 5 QB discussion. If it's not for Russell Wilson, Watson is probably the clubhouse leader for league MVP, he's playing at that sort of level.

People call him a Houdini. He's actually more: He's part Houdini, part Evil Kenevil, part Mike Tyson, part Michael Jordan... and he's your QB.

Offensive Player of the (half) Year: Carlos Hyde, RB (704 rushing yards, 3 TDs, 4.7 ypc).

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There's just something about that number lining up in the backfield. Considered to be a washed up player following two disappointing stops in Cleveland and Jacksonville last season, Hyde was on the bubble as the Chiefs were getting ready for the Regular Season. An unemployed future awaited Hyde...

Out of the blue, William O'Brien made a quick phone call to KC, offered up LG Martinas Rankin and now the Texans have their most impressive running game since Arian Foster's prime years. Hyde has been running the ball better than Lamar Miller has during his entire tenure here as a Texan, displaying the sort of short area burst between the tackles that Miller was never able to generate. Hyde has established himself as the thunder in what has quickly developed into a fine RB stable.

Defensive Player of the (half) Year: Zach Cunningham, ILB (68 tackles/44 solo, 5 TFL, 2 FR, 1.0 sacks)

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You could make very compelling cases for both Whitney Mercilius and JJ Watt, but I am going a different direction. Currently, the Texans have the 3rd best run defense in the NFL. The Texans also have the 2nd longest streak of not allowing a 100+ rusher in the NFL. It's not as if the Texans had an easy slate of RBs to contend with, either - Kamara/Murray, Fournette x2, McCaffrey, Mack, Freeman, Jacobs, McCoy - all of them are very talented backs. None of them could really get going on the ground, and that starts with #41. Cunningham has established himself as a true sideline to sideline attacker, a guy who finds the hole quickly and puts himself in there to stop the run, and that is proving to be a significant advantage for this team.

Newcomer of the (half) Year: Darren Fells, TE (24/245/6).

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Sure, I could have been redundant and listed Hyde again. I could have went with our top 5 LT in Larmey Tunsil, or WR Kenny Stills. Maybe the revamped secondary with Bradley Roby or Tashaun Gipson (Gaeron Conley will have to wait for end of year discussion). But, it's not every season when you find a TE that ties Owen Daniels' single season TD record with seven games left to play.

Fells was one of the more odd signings this off-season - the team burnt capital on the Jordans Iast off-season and had Ryan Griffin on the roster. Kahale Warring was also added, so the full Kubiak effect was in place. Alas... Jordan Thomas had not been seen or heard from, Kahale Warring was thrown onto IR and Ryan Griffin was cut shortly after the draft. Fells was viewed as a blocking guy, but has displayed some excellent field awareness, finding soft spots in the zone and creating trust with Watson on critical plays.

Not too bad for 1/$1.5mm, eh?

Rookie of the (half) Year: Max Scharping, LG

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This really could go to either Scharping or Tytus Howard, but I'll give the nod to Scharping due to availability to this point. These two rookies were both very athletic and had high upside - sitting them down with a young vet such as Tunsil has only accelerated their growth, as they will continue to develop into a cohesive unit. Who knows, maybe Lonnie Johnson or Charles Omenihu work into this discussion...

Unsung hero of the (half) Year: William O'Brien, GM

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I think everyone in the city of Houston was stunned when GM Brian Gaine was fired, 18 months into the GM gig here. After a zainy turn of events with Nick Caserio, Jack Easterby and the threat of litigation, the Texans had to turn to William O'Brien to manage the roster - and some impact moves were made immediately: Larmey Tunsil for two firsts, Jadevion Clowney for a 3rd, Hyde for Rankins and (most recently) Gaeron Conley for that Clowney-earned 3rd. All in all - these moves have paid immediate dividends; The players brought in have been steadily improving the chances of the team to compete at a high level further down the line. There are significant investments involved with these moves, but these moves are also very in tune with the future, as each player is still very young and capable of forming a dynamic core for Watson to leverage to deep playoff runs.

Dare I say - William O'Brien the GM might be better than Bill O'Brien, the HC ...

... and Bill O'Brien the HC might be getting better.

 

 

More to come later this week!

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disagree about the O'Brien.  Remains to be seen how his moves are. We have to wait down the line for that.  I just hope next year we actually get a GM. Knowing our franchise they probably think making the playoffs is good enough and feel like we don't need a GM. Disagree he getting better as HC too. We need to stop judging him about the regular season since its clear our division isn't good and he don't beat playoff caliber teams, the Chiefs are the exception.

I agree with your awards list winners.  You nailed everyone to me. 

Hyde has been a pleasant surprise for me.  On pace for his best season in his career. I wish he can tone down on the fumbles but overall he has been pretty good. He will be a FA next year and I would love to have him back.

Edited by Texansfan713

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I'm a skeptic on O'Brien and I have to say, aside from the Panthers game and the first Jaguars matchup. His only really glaring flaw this season is his time management and use of challenges. Throwing to TE's, use of RB's who can catch, quicker plays. Possible progression, cant wait to see how we do against the Ravens and Pats.

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8 hours ago, Texansfan713 said:

disagree about the O'Brien.  Remains to be seen how his moves are. We have to wait down the line for that.

Mind you, I'm not saying we WON these trades. Merely that we're extremely benefitting from them right now. Simply put - we're not 6-3 without Tunsil, Hyde or Stills.

Two years from now, these trades could be the catalyst to several 6-10 seasons, but right now, they're paying dividends.

8 hours ago, Texansfan713 said:

Disagree he getting better as HC too.

I don't know how you can say that with some of the wins we have this season. In KC vs Mahomes after spotting them a 17-3 lead, a 4th quarter comeback against Rivers/Bosa and the Chargers, a "start to finish" win against Jacksonville where Texans - they are wins that any other team in the OB era doesn't pull off (hell, the Atlanta win had Julio Jones locked up for 3/42 - that's something that never happened before, holding down an elite WR). 

I get that nobody likes OB - I don't either. But give credit where credit is due, don't just hate for the sake of hating. He still has massive flaws in gameplanning and clock management, but he's found ways to win games we traditionally lose.

8 hours ago, Texansfan713 said:

We need to stop judging him about the regular season 

How do you propose we judge him? Serious question. 

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1 hour ago, Texansfan713 said:

judge him by what he does in the playoffs going forward.

So, you'd grade him as an incomplete? I mean, nobody has made the playoffs yet.

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1 hour ago, ET80 said:

So, you'd grade him as an incomplete? I mean, nobody has made the playoffs yet.

so far this season we have 1 great win and that was vs the chiefs. we honestly should be 8-1 right now. that's at least a C- for him.

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2 hours ago, Texansfan713 said:

so far this season we have 1 great win and that was vs the chiefs. we honestly should be 8-1 right now. that's at least a C- for him.

Don't look now, but that win vs the Raiders looks like a win against another playoff calibur team - it'll come down to Oakland or Buffalo for one of those two WC spots. Both Oakland and LAC have made a push lately. 

And... 8-1? Did you REALLY see us at 8-1 after nine games? That's rather optimistic.

The way I see it, we've only had one bad LOSS, and that was against Carolina, another team that's rallying towards a playoff spot - on paper, we should have won that, but we didn't. Losing in NO was basically a given for anyone this season (and even then, it was on a 59 yard walk off FG - tell me how many games end like that). Losing to Indy in Indy is a coin flip, especially given that Jacoby Brissett might be a competent QB. 

I think you had us at 4-5 at this point, so two games up over that point is good, is it not?

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3 hours ago, Pastor Dillon said:

BOB doesn’t have an incomplete. He has a solid D- that he’s working on extra credit to get better. 

Over the course of his career, sure. Over the course of this season... and only this season? 

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On 4/18/2019 at 11:05 AM, Texansfan713 said:

Week 1- at Saints MNF  L

Week 2- vs Jags  W

Week 3- at Chargers L

Week 4- vs Panthers W

Week 5- vs Falcons W

6- at Chiefs L

7 at Colts L

8- vs Raiders W

9- vs Jags (London) L

10- bye

That's 4-5, now you're going with "we should be 8-1"?

C'mon, stop moving the goalposts.

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5 hours ago, Texansfan713 said:

judge him by what he does in the playoffs going forward.

 

On 4/18/2019 at 11:05 AM, Texansfan713 said:

If O'Brien manages to make the playoffs and win 10 games he deserves an extension.

Your words earlier this year - you first say that making the playoffs/winning 10+ earns an extension for the guy, now you're saying he can only be judged by his playoff performances.

So... which is it?

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To put a bow on this - I do not think Bill O'Brien is a good coach. I think he makes a lot of mistakes, and he's going to cost the team more games than a competent coach should, and "I need to coach better," is just a tired response from him.

However, this particular season - he's probably coaching the best he's ever coached. He still makes mistakes, he still "needs to coach better" but the mistakes aren't as dramatic as they once were, they don't bury the team into a spot where the loss is inevitable. Last season, spotting Mahomes a 17-3 in the first quarter was a death sentence. Spotting Philip Rivers a 17-7 lead at half was a death sentence. Spotting Atlanta a 17-16 lead at the half? Death sentence. We're 3-0 in those games this season. That says something, and that's not a bad thing - plenty of GOOD teams have trouble in those situations. 

The offense is clicking as well as it ever has with both passing, running, pass blocking, red zone efficiency - save for opening/1st quarter performance, it's doing much better now than it even has before, this is very similar to what Kubiak was able to get out of Schaub, Foster, AJ and the best OL we've ever had.

This doesn't suddenly make him a valuable option as a HC, he's suddenly not the guy we need. He's still bad, he's got flaws. But this season? He's better than what we've come to expect.

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1 hour ago, ET80 said:

 

Your words earlier this year - you first say that making the playoffs/winning 10+ earns an extension for the guy, now you're saying he can only be judged by his playoff performances.

So... which is it?

because of the schedule.  also i said that before i knew luck was retiring as i didn't think we would have a very good record. luck retiring changed the dynamic of the afc south.

Edited by Texansfan713

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1 hour ago, ET80 said:

That's 4-5, now you're going with "we should be 8-1"?

C'mon, stop moving the goalposts.

that was my prediction before the season began.  based on the results from those games and how we lost those games we definitely should be 8-1 right now.

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