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  • Given the fickleness of maintaining an NFL roster, what even goes into building and following a ‘plan’ in the NFL?
By Conor Orr
September 03, 2019

After a weekend of firing off pieces critical of the Texans’ moves, the entire prospect of a “plan” in the NFL got me thinking.

As a coach or a general manager, unless you’re a maniacal egomaniac who routinely torpedoes every situation you’re in, one Super Bowl victory keeps you employed for life and deified at the end of your career (and even if you’re a wild, destructive narcissist, you’re probably still going to be fine as long as you have the ring). Whatever “plan” was in place to create that win, and whatever ends up happening after that is largely immaterial to your legacy, considering that no one in the modern era is going to be able to replicate what Bill Belichick has done in New England.

On Monday, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien reiterated to reporters that, yes, there is a plan, and that trading Jadeveon Clowney for a third-round pick and paying half his salary is part of the plan. And yes, trading a pair of first-round picks for a borderline top-10 offensive tackle and Kenny Stills is part of the plan.

Does it sound like an insane plan? Yes. Is it the kind of plan that keeps them good for a long time? Probably not, considering the Texans aren’t going to be able to replenish their roster at the top of the draft for almost half a decade barring any future trades to come. But if Houston makes a run this year, are we going to look back on this in 10 years and think about how insane it was? Even if they don’t reach a Super Bowl, all a coach really needs in order to legitimize their resume is a run, and then they can go back to ownership and say ‘See? I was right. Keep me here for another five years.’ Five more years to make another run.

To be clear: I am not defending any of the moves made this weekend. But O’Brien had me thinking about the peak Jim Harbaugh 49ers, the post-2013 Seahawks, the pre-’19 Colts—any franchise that seems to be accumulating this totally sensible, replenishing arsenal of talent, only to find the fickleness of life getting in the way. Is there something to be said about throwing sensibility to the wind, given that an NFL roster is—by design—too difficult to align and operate efficiently for a long time anyway?

On to the links…

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PRESS COVERAGE

1. Now that he’s QB1, Jacoby Brissett (sort-of) gets paid like one.

2. How can the Seahawks maximize Jadeveon Clowney’s value?

3. Daniel Jones is now the toast of New York City, so he won’t be changing his jersey number.

4. Darnell Savage becomes “21 Savage”… literally.

5. How will the Chiefs work LeSean McCoy into the action?


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