Let’s put this to bed, once and for all.
Giving Brock Osweiler $37 million guaranteed was a terrible decision.
But not meeting with him beforehand — as Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Theismann decided to bring up today in a hit with SiriusXM NFL Radio — is a complete non-issue.
Here’s the deal.
Everything they would’ve seen in that meeting — maturity, discipline and leadership — has nothing to do with why Osweiler’s a bad player.
That is, he can’t throw the football.
In 2016, Osweiler struggled with accuracy, and decision-making, made worse by the fact that he often hesitated making said decisions. That’s why he threw 16 interceptions in only 14 starts, before being benched.
If anything, Osweiler’s makeup is the one part the Texans got right. He’s reliable, dedicated, smart and, you could argue, mentally tough.
Signing a $72 million contract, having that press conference, and being anointed as “the guy” — all to have the rug torn out from under him four months later? Not everybody in the NFL, at that position, handles it well.
When it happened, Osweiler was, to his credit, a true professional. He didn’t pout. He didn’t become a distraction. And when Tom Savage got hurt in the regular season finale, Osweiler took over and was decent in their win over the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Wild Card.
Ryan Mallett doesn’t do that. Neither does Brian Hoyer, who seemed too small for the moment twice in 2015.
Granted, Osweiler imploded a week later, throwing three interceptions against the New England Patriots in their playoff loss. But again, that has to do with his arm. Not anything above the shoulders.
Maybe they should’ve been able to see that on film. If I’m owner Bob McNair, that was the first thing I was asking Bill O’Brien and GM Rick Smith after the loss to the San Diego Chargers, when Osweiler threw three interceptions and it became clear that he was a bust.
But the idea that they would’ve seen it in a sit-down with him before signing him to a contract — unless he was throwing 18 yard comebacks to bus boys with prime ribs, no, they wouldn’t have.
What’s become a lazy. national media trope — “WHAT A BUNCH OF IDIOTS THEY ARE!” — is actually instructive about evaluating talent.
Interviews are overrated.
Take a look about what Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey had to say about the subject, in a Michael Lewis’s book, “The Undoing Project”:
In other words, Morey conducted player interviews because his boss, owner Les Alexander, would’ve been less than enthused if a player didn’t work out, and Alexander found out that Morey didn’t talk to him first. Not because there’s any real predictive value there.
So if you want to rip the Texans, rip them for not signing Peyton Manning in 2012. For not drafting Derek Carr in 2014. For having one of the worst offenses in the NFL the last three seasons. For managing a mere 9-7 in each of the last three seasons, in the AFC South. For the fact that, that’s actually a franchise record.
Just don’t them for paying Osweiler without meeting him.
Because you’d be wrong.
Matt hosts Saturdays from 1-4 pm on SportsRadio 610. You can, and totally should, follow him on Twitter @MattHam