Bill O’Brien doesn’t mind the plodding, methodical style of his Houston Texans offense, so long as it has a healthy heaping of big plays sprinkled in.
“I think that chunk plays, big plays, shot plays in this league are so important because it’s so hard to have multiple play, 15 play drives, you know, and sustain that kind of success for 15, 16, 17 plays,” O’Brien said on Wednesday.
“Of course you want to do that, you want to try to grind it out, and possess the football. We’ve done that, too, we’ve done that a few times, too, but we’ve also had a few big plays down the field, and we need to continue to try to do that.”
So far, that sprinkle has been more of a dash.
The Texans big play percentage, where big plays are defined as runs of 10 yards or more and passes of 25 yards or more, is just 6.1 percent, 25th in the NFL. Only 15 of their 246 offensive plays fit that description.
Before you blame quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick — because of course you would — know that his seven 25-plus-yard pitch-and-catches are tied for 10th with, among others, Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos.
If anything, the Texans have been hurting much more in the long runs department — their eight big play runs are ninth-fewest in the league.
Despite having one fewer win all season than this team does through one month, the 2013 Texans didn’t have nearly the same issue. Big plays, 15th. Big play percentage, 18th. Runs, 18th. Passes, 10th. All at, above or just below average.
Given that they have basically the same talent, only with a better quarterback and a few new toys to play with, such as running back Alfred Blue and gadget wide receiver Damaris Johnson, it stands to reason that what’s keeping the Texans from popping off big plays like they did a year ago is familiarity with and comfort in O’Brien’s system. Which should come with time.
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