Houston Texans 2014: The Purge on Kirby Continues
Red Wedding, final seen of The Godfather, last episode of Season 1 of The Sopranos....quite frankly, for the Houston Texans, I'm running out of television and movie analogies where multiple people get whacked.
So here goes...
(SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen and eventually desire to see The Departed, which is like a decade old, so to quote Jack Nicholson from, yes, The Departed!, "If you coulda, you woulda....")
Remember the last 30 minutes or so of The Departed, where pretty much everyone, good and evil, who was involved in the whole sting on that Boston mob family is getting killed -- cops, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), Billy (Leonardo DiCaprio). They have the parade through the Boston streets for the deceased Billy, and you think the movie is finally over, and that the winner in the end game is crooked cop Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon).
And then, just when you think it's safe for the credits to roll....POW!
Sullivan is shot in the head by ousted, disgruntled, former rival cop Dignam (played by Mark Wahlberg), justice is served and the movie ends. Just a totally out-of-nowhere whacking added on for good measure, another gallon of blood emptied into the vat of blood left behind the other bodies.
Which brings us to the Friday night purge in the Houston Texans' scouting department. As first tweeted by ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli:
The #Texans fired director of pro personnel Brian Gardner and Pro Scout Kevin Murphy today.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 18, 2014
So after a regular season that saw Matt Schaub benched, Ed Reed cut and Gary Kubiak fired, followed by a postseason that saw Wade Phillips, Rick Dennison and most of the assistant coaches get blown out, I think most people thought that this would be the crew that Bob McNair would roll with, in positions both public (head coach and general manager) and private (all the behind-the-scenes football operations folks).
And then comes this.
Of all the personnel moves that have taken place so far within management over on Kirby, these latest are the ones that have social media and the outside world reading (and who knows how accurately; probably not very) the tea leaves. The conspiracy theories that have the most steam seem to be:
1. Bill O'Brien is basically Walder Frey, cleaning out everyone and everything who didn't get cleaned out the first time. Yeah, I am back on Game of Thrones now. If you enjoy soap opera, this is the one you're probably rooting for, because it means that a) there's a line drawn in the sand now between Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith and b) there's the potential for down-the-road fireworks. Count Jason La Canfora in this crowd...
New Texans coach Bill O'Brien is swinging a big stick there and much of the old guard is a little unsure of where they stand ...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 18, 2014
Many people in the league believe if Texans GM Rick Smith had his way, Ken Whisenhunt would have been his top choice. More change could come— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 18, 2014
The relationship between Bill O'Brien and Rick Smith - or lack thereof - will be worth monitoring, closely in 2014 and beyond— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 18, 2014
2. The stench of 2-14 is strong; the more Rick Smith can offload the burden of failure on others, the more he might... This is why I disagreed with the decision to bring back Rick Smith as general manager after the season was over. When you go 2-14, everything is a failure. You're not "better than your record." You're just bad. That said, it's not like this was a 2-14 team where Smith inherited it a couple years ago and things "had to get worse before they got better." Smith's footprint here virtually overlapped Kubiak's! But Smith convinced the right people that personnel was not the issue in 2013 (or at least not nearly the issue), coaching was. Well, apparently, if you subscribe to this theory, so was the scouting department. My question is, if this is the case, how soon until we reach a point where virtually everyone who had something to do with building and coaching a 2014 team except Rick Smith is fired?
3. Vince McMahon has secretly purchased the Houston Texans. Honestly, this is the one I'm hoping for....
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