In his first public comments since the trade of quarterback Brock Osweiler (along with a 2018 second round draft pick) to the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien didn't really have much to say at all, at least not with any specificity toward his former signal caller.
Meeting with reporters before speaking at an event benefitting the Special Olympics, O'Brien was queried on a number of topics, but front of mind for everyone were his thoughts on the departure of Osweiler, especially considering a story making the rounds earlier on Sunday about a confrontation between O'Brien and Osweiler in the locker room at halftime of the Texans's Week 17 game against the Tennessee Titans.
More on that story in a minute, but here are O'Brien's brief comments in response to the Osweiler question, video courtesy of Mark Berman of KRIV-FOX 26:
Bill O'Brien on Brock Osweiler: "I think Rick Smith's statement said it all. We wish Brock the best. We're moving on to 2017." pic.twitter.com/7x3ZHNASPC— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 12, 2017
So, no flowery prose or platitudes from the head coach on his former quarterback, and frankly, none were needed. While we would all love to hear O'Brien give an honest assessment of how colossal a failure Osweiler was, it does O'Brien no good, in part because some of the blood of said failure is on his hands, as the head coach and "mastermind" behind this offensive system (whatever that "system" comprises).
Additionally, any detailed O'Brien thoughts on Brock Osweiler would only throw gas on the flames of a story that had everyone talking on Sunday. Courtesy of Pro Football Talk, the die was reportedly cast on Osweiler's future as a Texan during halftime of the final regular season game of the 2016 season, after starting quarterback Tom Savage had suffered a first half concussion and it was learned during the halftime break that he would be kept out for concussion protocol reasons:
Confusion emerged during the second quarter as to whether Savage had been cleared to return to action. At halftime, Savage got the news: He was being shut down for the day.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Savage became very upset, knocking things around in the locker room and otherwise making a ruckus about having his status jeopardized by a doctor’s decision to keep him from playing. At or about the same time, coach Bill O’Brien informed Osweiler that he’d be finishing the game.
Osweiler, per the source, reacted negatively, telling O’Brien in the visiting coach’s office at Nissan Stadium in Nashville that he’s only playing Osweiler because O’Brien needs him. [Editor’s note: That’s sort of how football depth charts work.] An argument ensued, voices were raised. At one point, it’s believed that Osweiler got up to walk away and O’Brien threw out an arm to stop him. That prompted Osweiler to act as if he were being “held hostage,” a claim that he would repeat (per the source) in the days after the game.
And that was that for Osweiler in Houston. Following that incident, the team was determined to find a way to move on from him.
A few thoughts here:
1. He's the least significant player in this soap opera, but this story makes Tom Savage sound like some sort of flustered ape (dare I say, a SAVAGE ape?), throwing stuff around the locker room in anger. I get being frustrated, especially a guy like Savage who seems to have the worst luck ever, but damn, man... be presidential. (Assuming these reports are true, of course.)
2. Brock Osweiler's responding to news he'd be starting the second half with some form of "Well, you're only playing me because you need to play me" is the most Brock response ever, the exact type of clueless reply you'd expect from someone who explains the basic rules of football in response to questions at a press conference. Good riddance.
3. Brock's feeling "held hostage" when O'Brien "threw out an arm" to stop him from leaving the conversation? Also feels very Brock-like. Yeah... HELD HOSTAGE. OK.
4. All of this said about the atrocity that was Osweiler's Texans career, we cannot ignore the fact that this is now three of the last four Week 1 starters (Matt Schaub in 2013, Brian Hoyer in 2015, and now Osweiler in 2016) who have been run out of town like some sort of public menace or social deviant. Schaub had fans showing up in his driveway, and was eventually traded to the Raiders. Hoyer had five turnovers in a playoff game, and was cut despite having a very reasonable second year on his contract still remaining. And now Brock was... well yeah.
At some point, the carousel of quarterbacks and the fiery train wreck that seems to occur every time the carousel stops needs to fall on someone's head aside from just the player, right? Rick Smith is the only common thread across all of these players. It'd be nice if Smith spoke to the media and fans in person, face the music, and answer questions... as opposed to dishing out one paragraph statements like this:
Dare to dream, I suppose.
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