HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – 9 games into his NFL coaching career, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien isn’t too pleased with the way things have begun in Houston.
“We’re 4-5,” said O’Brien. “It’s like the old saying goes. You are what your record says you are. 4-5 is a very mediocre record, and it’s the sign of an inconsistent team.”
Still, O’Brien isn’t waving the white flag on 2014.
“There’s a lot of football left,” said O’Brien. “There’s seven games left. You can look through the history of this league. Teams that were 5-5, 4-5 at this point in time. Certain teams went one direction. Other teams went another direction. We’ve got to find a way to go in the right direction. And it’s all about us…becoming more consistent.”
Nor is O’Brien pulling the plug on starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, though he didn’t directly answer questions about a possible switch.
“We’re at a point now – nine games in – where have to look at all our personnel, all our schemes, and try to do what’s best for the team,” said O’Brien. “At any position. It doesn’t really matter what position it is. We just have to really take this bye week – players and coaches – to really individually think what we can do better to make our team better.”
When pressed further about the position, O’Brien defended his starting quarterback.
“We’re really all in it together,” said O’Brien. “There’s no finger-pointing. It’s not one guy’s fault. You guys keep asking me about the quarterback position. That’s good. That’s fine. At the end of the day, you can’t point at one position and say ‘Man, it’s all on this guy or that guy’.”
But he was complimentary of Fitzpatrick’s backup Ryan Mallett.
“He works extremely hard in practice, which is totally different than in the game,” said O’Brien. “But in practice, he seems to have a good command of what we’re doing. And he’s come in here with good knowledge of the offense.”
In their 31-21 loss to the Eagles Sunday, the Texans lost three starters – Arian Foster (groin), Johnathan Joseph (concussion), and Kareem Jackson (knee…but more on that later) to injuries. O’Brien didn’t have any updates on their statuses today.
“They will definitely be day to day,” said O’Brien. “They’ll be guys that we’ll have to check in with every day. Especially with the nature of what their injuries are. We’ll just see how they are and the next day. I think the bye is coming at a good for things like that. Hopefully they’ll be healed up.”
As for Kareem Jackson’s knee injury – which was announced over the PA in NRG Stadium’s press box during the game – O’Brien would not confirm the cornerback had suffered a knee injury.
“I heard he had a tooth-ache,” said O’Brien. “So I have to get on the same page with [Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan]. But I didn’t announce the knee.”
O’Brien wouldn’t give any further details on Jackson’s injury.
“It’s always day to day…whatever it is. Come on man, it’s been 9 months now. You know the drill.”
Rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney created a stir by liking an Instagram photo in the middle of the Texans – Eagles game. When asked about it, O’Brien got cheeky.
“Yeah, he and I like, we tweeted back and forth last night,” said O’Brien. “I went on spacebook, he went on twitter…This guy wants to play football. He’s trying to get better to get back on the field. I’m not going down this twitter road. I don’t even know what that is…We’re moving on from that. We’re moving on.”
Clowney’s replacement, Whitney Mercilus, has come on strong in the first overall pick’s absence. He’s had 4 sacks and 5 tackles for a loss in his last 4 games, and is really impressing the Texans’ head coach.
“This guy takes scout team reps,” said O’Brien. “I think he’s a good example for younger players on our team. He really is in here early. He stays late. He practices hard. He always lifting weights, stretching out, finding ways to get better. I think with the more experience you get, the better you’re going to play with that kind of work ethic.”
Speaking of work ethic, Andre Johnson was called out by Eagles cornerback Cary Williams after the game because he didn’t seem engaged during the loss. Today, Johnson seemed exceptionally frustrated with his role in O’Brien’s offense.
“We’re all frustrated,” said O’Brien. “We all want to get better. I’m sure he’s frustrated. He wants to catch more passes. We want him to catch more passes. Hopefully we’re all in it together and we just continue to get better.”
Paul Gallant hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM – with Brien Straw. Get in contact with Paul on Twitter – @PaulyGSays – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.
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