What Did We Learn from Hard Knocks?


I feel like one of my players is going to end up being rookie defensive lineman Christian Covington out of Rice University. The best line I heard in Hard Knocks was when Covington and some other teammates visited Waugh Drive Bat Colony. Covington was standing over the bridge as bats rushed towards the sky just feet from their faces as he said “I feel like Batman.” For some reason the delivery and situation in which he said it stuck with me, he is a character and hardworking player. I’m excited to see what Christian can do.

Mainly, the thing I enjoyed most from the first episode of this in-depth series was the insider look at what Head Coach Bill O’Brien talks about in team meetings. I love to see what a coach’s true philosophy is, especially because as an outsider I had my assumptions and predictions about what they prioritized, but getting to see it first hand was incredible.

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In my personal playing experience, the best coach was always the one that could rally the team together and rid them of selfish attitudes. The year my team was favored to win our district and make a run at the state championship, we ended up going 3-7 due to an extremely selfish and arrogant senior class. The following year, my senior class was “too small, too slow, and not talented enough.” We ended up coming literally one yard short of the state championship game, eventually falling to Mario Edwards Jr and the Denton Ryan Raiders (funny, seeing as he was just drafted to the Oakland Raiders).

Football is truly a team sport, and just one man alone being self-seeking can ruin the entire squad’s chance at winning. Bill O’Brien stressed the importance of personally knowing each and every one of their respective Texan teammates. Not by what school they went to, not by their background, but by name, character and who they are as a person. This is paramount to having success in any sport, but the need for comradery climaxes with football.

In the NFL, having a close team without selfish goals is a nearly impossible pipe dream. I see flashes of brilliance when O’Brien speaks to the players, and they seem to respect the hell out of him. If anyone can create an unselfish locker room, it’s Bill O’Brien. Of course, having J.J. Watt by his side to set the example also aides tremendously in that effort.

So what did we learn?

We learned that Coach O’Brien is a no-nonsense type of leader and will demand nothing less than excellence in every facet. That can be said of any coach, but O’Brien holds himself and his staff to the same rigorous standards. He is determined to bring unity in the locker room that will drive the Texans to success in 2015.

We also learned that J.J. Watt is quite possibly inhuman, Pierre Garcon is just as annoying as ever, and that the Texans are not to be messed with. Oh, and Billy-O has a typical coach vocabulary.

I fear watching Hard Knocks may make me more optimistic as the season approaches, and that can be dangerous. I just believe the culture has shifted and this team is destined to be great, if not in 2015…soon, very soon.

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