DeMeco Ryans should be commended for how he's gotten the Houston Texans to an 8-7 record in his first year with the team. The squad is playing fantastic ball right now, and doing so with a squad that isn't as skilled as it will be in a year or two. He's doing a great job getting his team and has proven to be a great motivator and tactician.
That said, some of his more obvious mistakes are holding this team back. The two biggest examples of looking past the obvious were his refusal to make Devin Singletary his feature running back for most of the season and most recently, going with Case Keenum over Davis Mills in lieu of C.J. Stroud.
Stroud, who suffered a concussion in Week 14 against the New York Jets, has missed the last two weeks against the Tennessee Titans and the Cleveland Browns respectively. The Titans game saw the Texans narrowly get the win thanks to an impressive outing by Houston's defense and special teams, all while Keenum struggled to produce anything somewhat positive.
The Browns game was an even bigger train wreck. Joe Flacco and Amari Cooper teamed up to rip up the Texans' defense, with Cooper setting a new franchise record for the Browns. Cooper set a franchise record with the most receiving yards in a single game, setting the mark at 265 yards and two touchdowns.
The Browns in turn helped Flacco and Cooper set that mark by picking off Keenum twice and really limiting the offense in what they could do. Eventually, Ryans put in Mills, who threw two touchdowns and helped the Texans look better in defeat, but by the time he came in, the game was already out of reach.
This was something most people saw happening. Keenum was the safer option due to his style of play, but Mills was the better big-play option. Both men would likely turn the ball over eventually but Mills was the only option of the two who would still make the opposing defenses suffer. Sort of like Flacco. He threw two picks but still had three touchdowns. Worst case scenario, that's what Mills would've done for the Texans.
Yet, despite being good enough to be the backup all season to Stroud, Ryans over-thought the situation and came up with the obviously wrong decision. One, we hope he doesn't make it if Stroud is out yet again for Week 17.