In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer delivered this scoop about the Houston Texans, who have won their last nine games after starting the season 0-3:
The Texans are doing really well, which is evidence the plan O’Brien and the revamped front office, led by new GM Brian Gaine, put together is working. That plan, in fact, can explain why the coach has found it so easy to fall for the group—the kind of guys they have in the locker room is no mistake.
Of course Breer, a dutiful puppet for NFL team owners, attributes the Texans’ success to the wisdom and planning of the front office instead of, say, the skill of the players. He pulls this move a lot, easily filling space in his column by picking out whatever team happens to be on a good run of form and explaining their success with some vague gestures toward “culture.” This particular instance goes from dopey to outright parody when Breer lays out the special top-down prudence that has made all the difference for the Houston Texans. According to Breer, the secret to the Texans’ success is in their commitment to signing players with the following traits:
• Love football.
• Good teammate.
• Be dependable.
• Good work habits.
• Good learner.
• Good preparation habits.
• Good personal and football character.
It’s unclear whether this is a verbatim list from the Texans’ front office or Breer’s interpretation of whatever head coach Bill O’Brien said to him during their short phone call, but one thing is certain: I’ll give $5 to the reporter who asks O’Brien what the difference is between “coachable” and “good learner.”