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Bill O’Brien: The 9-7 bar is too low

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, left, and Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien greet each other after their preseason NFL football game, Thursday Sept. 1, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) AP

Texans coach Bill O’Brien turned in winning seasons in each of his first two years on the job with a second straight 9-7 record earning an AFC South title in 2015.

The Texans responded to that success by overhauling their offense this offseason. Quarterback Brock Osweiler, running back Lamar Miller and a pair of wide receivers drafted in the first three rounds have joined the club in what’s a clear strategy to improve on what’s been a decent start to O’Brien’s NFL coaching career.

“We understand that 9-7 is not the bar,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “We feel like we’ve made some really good strides here in the past two years with our football team. We’ve overcome some adversity. We have a mentally tough team. We’ve got a bunch of great guys in that locker room but we know that the 9-7 bar is too low. We understand that. I think everybody in this league understands that. We’re very well aware of the fact that we need to go out there and play more consistent, play better than we have in the past. But that is in the past. This is a new team and I really like the way this team is practicing. We’ll go from there.”

Of all those moves, the Osweiler one is likely to determine if 9-7 moves from the bar to the floor for the Texans and, by extension, how O’Brien’s tenure in Houston is going to play out. The coach has shown he can win with barely competent quarterback play, but that’s a hard game to play year in and year out without seeing diminishing results. If Osweiler can raise that bar, O’Brien’s hope of raising the team’s has a better chance of being realized.

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10 Responses to “Bill O’Brien: The 9-7 bar is too low”
  1. 6ball says: Sep 8, 2016 7:31 AM

    For years the AFC South has been the most boring, least competitive division in football. I think this year it should be highly competitive.

  2. cheapseater says: Sep 8, 2016 7:40 AM

    Osweiler is about to be exposed. Shoulda met him first.

  3. jjackwagon says: Sep 8, 2016 7:41 AM

    It’s the AFC South, 9-7 is the only bar you get.

  4. streetyson says: Sep 8, 2016 8:34 AM

    If JJ misses a lot of time or is too limited, a 9-7 in Osweiler’s first bedding-in year at Houston seems like a reasonable-enough bar to me – with a fit JJ, the bar should be the divisional round.

  5. intrafinesse says: Sep 8, 2016 9:14 AM

    9-7 below expectations?

    1) Brock Osweiler as QB.

    2) Andrew Luck injured last year.

    3) Harder schedule this year.

    But they do play in a weak division, so anything could happen.

    I can’t see them topping 9-7, and I think 8-8 is more realistic. 7-9 wouldn’t surprise me either, especially if Osweiler is not very good.

  6. nhpats says: Sep 8, 2016 9:18 AM

    At least he can pencil in two easy wins against the Colts

  7. 12444uggg says: Sep 8, 2016 9:48 AM

    Brock Osweiler sure feels 8-8, 9-7 to me.

  8. tonebones says: Sep 8, 2016 9:59 AM

    11-5. Osweiler gives The Texans something they’ve never had. A blue chip QB.

  9. lowlifenebula says: Sep 8, 2016 10:22 AM

    The thing you have to understand is that they had a fun congo line of QB last year and managed to go 9-7. Osweiler may not be Brady, but he sure as heck is better than Hoyer and the gang. If they establish the run and have a healthy defense, they should win the division with a better than 9-7 record. I don’t believe in strength of schedule until the half way point of the season…. they’ll still manage to lose to a Bradyless Pats though.

  10. Jason T says: Sep 8, 2016 12:20 PM

    I’m not so sure he’s better than Hoyer yet. Hoyer’s numbers were skewed but he still threw 19 TDs to 7 picks and completed 60% of his passes.

    Let’s wait and see if Osweiler does better than that before we just assume he will.

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