The Worst Team in the NFL May Not Be Who You Think By John Brecko
Everyone has been making fun of the New York Jets all season. Everyone has a right to, their level of play has been so terrible that they should be made fun of as an organization. However, the worst team may not be who you think it is.
The most obvious choice if it is not the Jets would be the Jacksonville Jaguars to many. They are the only team in the NFL that ended the regular season with a worse record than the Jets. The have been other teams that did not live up to expectations, such as the Atlanta Falcons, who were in the Super Bowl four years ago (to be fair, that team has not been the same since giving up 31 points and losing that Super Bowl).
The Oakland Raiders could be included in that group of teams who did not live up to expectations as well considering they did not make the playoffs. They were the only team to end up victorious over the Kansas City Chiefs this year when Patrick Mahomes was in the game. They also had victories over the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints.
However, those are not two teams that could contend for being the worst team in the league. I would not say that the Jaguars are the worst team in the league either.
I believe the worst team in the league is the Houston Texans.
What kept the Texans from having the worst record this year was Deshaun Watson.
Watson completed over 70% of his passes, threw 33 touchdown passes and only 7 interceptions.
Quarterbacks that have had seasons like that are usually on Super Bowl contending teams. The Texans went 4-12 this season. No quarterback has ever played that well throughout the season and has had the rest of the team fail him the way that they did.
It started with former Head Coach and General Manager of the Texans, Bill O’Brien getting fired for trading DeAndre Hopkins and leading the Texans to an 0-4 start at the beginning of this season.
Nothing improved throughout the season and a player to call the Texans out that would make headlines would be J.J. Watt, who stated that he wants out and is not interested in a rebuild with the organization.
Watt even apologized to Watson for “wasting one of his seasons” However, the Texans stated that Deshaun Watson would have a say in who would be hired as a General Manager for the team.
Even though that Watson was told this, they would hire a General Manager without consulting him or even other players on the team anyway.
Watson already had to find out about the trade involving DeAndre Hopkins through social media. He was a receiver that he had a connection with when it came to throwing the football, but they were also both Clemson alumni as well.
Now that Watson was not informed about a major decision a second time and it is no surprise that you have a franchise quarterback that is supposedly ignoring his team’s phone calls and a quarterback who has not gotten back to his owner to attempt to address those frustrations, even if according to Texans Owner Cal McNair that he “looks forward to hearing back from him when he is back from vacation”.
Watson also tweeted that “some things never change” and many speculate that it is about their recent hire at the General Manager position. However, since those speculations have risen, Watson’s tweet has been deleted.
The General Manager that the Texans hired was a man named Nick Caserio, who has been with the New England Patriots since 2001 and held a variety of positions with the organization. He was a Personnel Assistant in 2001, and Offensive Assistant Coach in 2002 an Area Scout in 2003, the Director of Pro Personnel from 2004-2006, the team’s Wide Receiver Coach in 2007 and 2008-2020, he was the Director of Player Personnel.
Caserio was with the Patriots for almost the entirety of Bill Belichick’s tenure, which began in 2000. Belichick released a statement about the hire, praising Caserio’s work ethic as well as “an ability to deal with a wide array of responsibilities and he is deserving of this opportunity”. Caserio acknowledged this in a press conference saying he was “eternally grateful” for Belichick’s guidance over the years.
Watson’s tweet could have addressed a variety of things when it comes to Caserio’s hire, including the fact that he comes from the Belichick tree. A lot of coaches fail outside of Bill Belichick’s system. Matt Patricia was fired by Detroit Lions this year and he was the defensive coordinator for the Patriots from 2012-2017. We should remember that Bill O’Brien is a member of the Belichick tree as well, even if he was a decent Head Coach overall despite the DeAndre Hopkins trade (decent coach, but terrible General Manager).
Josh McDaniels was hired by the Denver Broncos in 2009 and did not even finish the 2010 season with the team. His record as a head coach in those two seasons is 11-17.
To be fair, the current Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores is an exception to this rule in his first two seasons with the Dolphins. That team looked like it would be one of the worst teams in NFL history after an 0-7 start in the 2019 season, but would win five of their last nine games that year. They just missed the playoffs after a loss in the season finale to the Buffalo Bills this year, ending their season at 10-6, but showing further improvement nonetheless.
Other coaches on the Belichick tree who had worse than a .500 record as a Head Coach were Eric Mangini, Romeo Cremel and Joe Judge, although the last of those three men as shown some promise with the effort the New York Giants have been putting in every game this season.
This may be an unfair criticism of Nick Caserio since he was not hired as a coach and has not been a coach of any kind in the NFL for well over a decade now, but this could be a possibility. The greater possibly is the fact that he was not told about yet another situation, which is a mistake the Texans have made with Watson in the past.
The media tends to exacerbate problems in teams, if not outright cause them sometimes. The media does have influence. If there is not a problem in Houston already, there may be one soon with the headlines this hire has made.
If there is anything the Texans should think about this season, it is a question they should ask themselves. That question is “What would our record have been without Deshaun Watson in the 2020 NFL season?”