Texans Notebook: Bill O'Brien Knows the Offense Has to Clean Up The Protection

Patrick D. Starr

The Houston Texans arrived back to NRG Stadium to prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but head coach Bill O'Brien held his day-after press conference with the media.

It was a disappointing loss, one that has been seen too often in the Deshaun Watson era. It was the fifth loss for Watson led the team to score in the fourth quarter only to lose the game with the defense not holding up their end of the bargain.

Here are some highlights from the day after the Texans loss in O'Brien's press conference.

Bill O'Brien Aware What the Texans Faults Are

The Texans continue to falter when it counts the most and especially against top-notch opponents. Late touchdowns have sunk the Texans in losses to the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and the New Orleans Saints since Watson has become the Texans starting quarterback.

O'Brien understands that this is something his team has to correct.

"The issue for us is we've got to win those games," O'Brien said of the Texans late fourth-quarter losses. "We've had games like that against the top teams in the NFL and in order for us to be one of those top teams we've got to finish those games."

The Texans have had chances in these games with the heroics of Watson and what he has been able to do leading the offense. Thriving in hostile environments on the road and holding up his end of the bargain. The defense has not been able to come through to make sure his efforts do not go unforgotten.

O'Brien knows how special Watson is.

"He has a way about him that gives us teammates belief," O'Brien said of Watson. "That's what really good quarterbacks, top quarterbacks do. I think why it's great that we have him on our team."

The Texans gave up six sacks on Monday Night to the Saints defense, and once again it was due to multiple breakdowns. Either due to miscommunication, missing blocks, or holding the football too long. The hits continue to pile up on Watson.

"We've got to cut down on that number, there's no doubt about it," O'Brien said of the six sacks. "We can't give up six sacks, but there's a lot that goes into it. There were times where there were some pressures that we got to pick up better. We have to coach it better. Our guys need to get their assignments down a little bit better. Then there are other times where maybe the ball needs to come out a little bit quicker. So, you know, we're going to work hard this week, but we know that we need to cut down that number."

Deshaun Watsons Health

On Deshaun Watson 21-yard touchdown run against the Saints, he was slow to get up after the play after landing hard on his back. There was an immediate concern for Watson after the play. Watson was in and out of the blue tent being monitored by Texans medical personnel.

O'Brien gave an update on Watson.

"We ran that play down there on fourth down and he kind of got flipped into the air," O'Brien explained. "He just landed – it's nothing that's going to keep him out, it's just treatment. It's just normal bumps and bruises just like every player in a game has."

Running backs Show Up

There were legitimate questions of if Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson coukd make an impact on the offense in week one. The duo did exactly that rushing for a combined 140 yards and 35 yards through the air. Both Hyde and Johnson were able to break tackles and make plays when the offense needed them the most.

"I think we ran for 180-plus, so that's good," O'Brien said of the running game. "There was some good blocking up front. I thought the line and the tight ends did a good job. I think there's even some yards that we left out there that we can really work on with Carlos and with Duke and continue to get better, but it was encouraging to see how well we did run the ball."

On how he will the two moving forward will depend on who their opponent is.

"I think every game is going to be different, you know?" O'Brien said on how he plans to use the two backs. "Every week can be a little bit different, how we decide to use those guys. But both those guys played well. They did some good things. There are some things we can clean up with both of them. But they both ran hard. They did some good things in the passing game, especially Duke in the passing game, also. But you know, there's a lot to build on with those two guys."

More to Come for Kenny Stills

There was limited time for Kenny Stills on offense but he made his presence felt with the biggest catch of the night. On a 37-yard touchdown reception to give the Texans a brief lead in the 4th quarter, it was a glimpse of the playmaking ability that Stills brings to the offense.

O'Brien likes what Stills brings to the Texans

"He's a smart guy, you know, he came in, and I think there was some, There was a lot of carryover from what he had been doing in Miami," O'Brien said of Stills. "Similar terminology, especially with like formations and personnel groupings and things. So he was able to pick right up and made some good plays. Obviously, the touchdown was a huge play for us at the time, and, you know, he's a smart guy did a good job."

Stills played 28 snaps (42%) on offense, but he made them count. O'Brien said it was designed not to put too much on Stills in week one, but he assured there was more coming for Stills in the Texans offense.

"We just used him in certain packages," O'Brien continued on Stills. "Didn't try to overload him – although he can handle it. I mean, he's a really smart guy. But no, there'll be more to come relative to all of those guys."

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