There are actually quite a few candidates for the hottest seat ‘award’ in the Houston Texans clubhouse this coming season.
Who has the hottest seat in the Houston Texans organization this year?
According to ESPN, that dubious title belongs to fifth-year wide receiver Will Fuller. Here’s what Texans insider Sarah Barshop had to say in defending her selection of Fuller for the role:
After DeAndre Hopkins was traded, it’s critical that Fuller stays healthy to make up for the reigning three-time All-Pro wide receiver’s missing production. Fuller is playing on his fifth-year option. If he stays healthy and productive, he’ll likely price himself out of Houston in free agency. If he misses time due to injury — he has missed 22 games in four NFL seasons — the Texans probably won’t want to give him a long-term deal due to that injury history. Either way, this is likely the last season for Fuller with the Texans. How bright his future is depends on his health, because his talent and production have never been up for debate.
I said the same thing about Fuller 20 days ago: that this is most likely his final season in Houston, one way or another. Either he exceeds expectations and gets a big payday elsewhere in free agency, or he underwhelms/gets injured once again and the Texans decide to release him next spring.
Do I agree with ESPN’s choice of Fuller for the team’s hottest seat in 2020? Yes … and no.
It’s a seemingly worthy argument to make that Fuller’s seat is hot because of all the pressure on his shoulders to perform this season sans Hopkins. From a player perspective, sure, then … Fuller’s seat is hot because he knows this is a true make-or-break season for him as a pro.
But from a team perspective? I’m not so sure.
From a Houston Texans perspective, Bill O’Brien might have hottest seat
If we’re looking at this same question under the lens of Houston Texans ownership and senior-level decision-making, you could logically argue that there might be better candidates than Fuller for the hottest seat in the organization. After all, we’ve already established that he’s likely gone one way or the other next spring/summer anyway.
Taking this angle into consideration, general manager/head coach Bill O’Brien might have the hottest seat amongst all Texans personnel.
I went on record at the end of last month stating that I think O’Brien will survive this season — provided the Texans don’t absolutely crash and burn.
He still has two years left on his deal, and with all that’s happened (and hasn’t happened) due to the coronavirus pandemic, we might see more leniency with head coaches at the end of this season due to how unpredictable and fluid the overall state of sports has been.
Even still: saying that O’Brien will survive this season doesn’t mean his seat isn’t hot.
It might sound crazy to suggest a hot seat for a coach who’s led his team to first-place divisional finishes and playoff appearances in four of the past five seasons, but as we just saw with the Philadelphia 76ers’ firing of Brett Brown in the NBA, eventually, a team has to ask itself if it’s still possible to take that next step with their current skipper.
I’m not convinced that the Texans can take the next step — ie. play in a conference championship game and/or a Super Bowl — under O’Brien. And unless ownership feels differently, he might actually be the one with the hottest seat in Houston’s organization this season.