HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Brock Osweiler easily had his worst game as Texans quarterback yesterday. He was 19/42 for 184 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception in the Texans 31-13 loss to the Vikings. Basically, bad.
Those stats are even misleading. 124 of Osweiler’s passing yards and that touchdown pass came with the Texans down 24-6 midway through the third quarter. But Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is standing behind his quarterback.
“I think Brock is working very hard,” said O’Brien. “He’s very prepared. I think all of us, including himself, we all have to do a better job. I’m sure he’d be the first one to tell you. Look, he’s got to improve in this area, that area, you know all those things. I think overall, I’ve been happy with the way the guy prepares.”
And like he did several times during his press conference after the Texans loss Sunday, O’Brien fell on the sword for the Texans offensive struggles. Again.
“Not happy with the way the offense has played,” continued O’Brien. “Not blaming it on anybody. Really taking responsibility for it here, right here because that’s where the responsibility lies when you’re the head football coach. That goes with defense and special teams, too. That’s what you’re charged with. You want to have a smart, fundamentally sound, productive football team and that’s not what we’ve had on the road twice this year.”
Osweiler was under siege against the Vikings Sunday. He was sacked 4 times for a net loss of 29 yards and hit 14 times per ESPN.
“Look, I don’t want the guy to get hit at all,” said O’Brien. “But quarterbacks in this league are going to get hit. That happens. Brock’s a very tough guy. He’s a tough individual, big guy. He got right back up after all those hits. Give the guy a lot of credit. Like I said after the game, he battled hard the whole day.”
I asked O’Brien if he was concerned that the hits Osweiler keeps taking could affect his confidence to stand up to pressure in the pocket.
“I don’t think anybody likes to get hit that much at the quarterback position, but I don’t think that will affect his confidence,” answered O’Brien. “He’s a confident guy. I think we have to do a better job. Sometimes we were playing that chess match that we obviously lost pretty badly where we were keeping seven guys in, getting three out and they were rushing four and playing what you would call ‘two-man,’ which has been kind of a problem for us this year. So, the rush was coming free at some point in time. These guys, they’re good players, too. We can’t hold them off forever. A lot of it is just us doing a better job of game planning – like I said after the game – and getting these guys in better positions. But as far as his confidence, I’m not concerned about his confidence.”
If O’Brien claims the struggles are all his fault, he’s got to do something about his gameplan. What can be done differently to open things up more quickly for Osweiler?
“I think it has to do a lot with how we design the routes,” said O’Brien. “Whether it’s getting more guys out on the route or having a different route concept for what the coverage may be, where [Osweiler] can throw on rhythm, throw on time. That’s what we’re working on right now to try to get him where he is a little bit more comfortable, because when he has been comfortable he has been very accurate and delivered the ball on time and it’s been very good.”
Bill O’Brien has always been one to take responsibility when the Texans play poorly. He also said today that he often second guesses himself.
“I definitely second guess,” said O’Brien. “Anytime you lose like that, it’s not good. You go into the game with what you think is a good game plan and obviously it wasn’t. What could you have done differently in the game plan? I think the practice week is set up properly. I think we practice the right way. Maybe there’s some things we can do to help us for the start of the game or coming out after halftime or whatever it might be, but definitely, and I told the team that this morning, the first thing I do is look in the mirror and that’s what I’m trying to do. Look in the mirror and try to get better and figure out what we need to do to play a lot better against the Colts.”
We know the Texans don’t play well against the league’s best teams. I don’t care what they do until they can actually beat one of those teams. But like his players today, Bill O’Brien pointed out that there’s a lot of season left.
“Again, let’s kind of rewind here a little bit. You know, we are 3-2. We’re not 0-5. We have a very big ballgame coming up here, so hopefully we can get things corrected and play better this week.”
Yup. On to Indy. Let’s see what happens. But I’ll be waiting for the Texans performance a week from tonight against the Broncos in Denver. Against a real contender with a Minnesota caliber defense.
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.