Whenever a team is failing, questions will always be raised about the work ethic of those involved - and the 4-11 Houston Texans are no exception.
After many pointed to defensive end J.J. Watt's comments after their 37-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals as calling out teammates, inevitably, interim head coach Romeo Crennel was asked on Monday if he felt they were getting the best out of his coaching staff, and his players.
"I think all the coaches are doing everything they can and I think most of the players are doing everything they can," said Crennel.
His use of the word 'most' here says a great deal. Ever the diplomat, Crennel went on to throw sand on the sparks before they had a chance to catch fire.
"There are some guys that need more work than others because everybody is a different individual and they’re motivated differently," said Crennel.
"You can’t just push one button and that impacts everybody. You have to figure out which button to push on different players to get them to do what you need them to do. Then, that takes some time too because some players are not wired to do what I want them to do every time."
Players not doing what their coach is wanting them to do seems ... well, problematic ... raising yet more questions about potential culture issues inside NRG Stadium.
"You have to practice," said Crennel. "But part of the deal this year is that we haven’t really been able to practice the way that we need to practice, haven’t been able to meet the way we need to meet so that we can get the best out of everybody."
Using the pandemic as an excuse for their shortcomings is an issue in itself. Every team in the NFL is facing the same issues and the same restrictions, and there is an abundance of players and coaches putting together excellent seasons despite the circumstances.
In fact, this very point was made by Watt on Sunday when asked about the COVID-related disruptions they were forced to deal with prior to their loss.
"We can sit here and make excuses and say why we're not playing a certain way and why we're not doing this and why we're not doing that," said Watt. "The fact of the matter is every single team is dealing with that. So, you've got to find a way, and we didn't. We haven't."
We would suggest this: Regardless of the circumstances, excuses are never a part of a winning organization.
Many of the players aren't performing, partly because the coaches aren't getting the best out of them. And with the season coming to a close, and many of these coaches and players likely on their way out now would be the time for some brutal honesty to shed light on the issues so the new regime can know where to begin.