Colts: Chris Ballard’s genius proves how bad Bill O’Brien was with Texans

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 21: Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 21: Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Colts have it good with Chris Ballard … just ask Houston Texans fans.

It’s officially the end of an era in Houston. What feels like four years overdue, the Texans have fired head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien after the team’s 0-4 start to the 2020 season. They didn’t exactly have an easy start, but you have to win one of those games against the Steelers or Vikings if you’re 0-2 and 0-3.

O’Brien was already problematic as a head coach. Sure, the Texans made the playoffs four times over his six-plus-year tenure, but they never made it past the divisional round and were seemingly always underachieving despite having star players like JJ Watt and DeAndre Hopkins.

Then when he became the team’s general manager, everything went south, especially these last two years.

Though Houston captured back-to-back AFC South titles the last two years with a combined record of 21-11, that just felt like the Texans’ ceiling, especially since that division has been one of the weakest in the league over the last few years.

Plus, when you trade away Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney and get nothing substantial in return for those two franchise cornerstones, you can’t help but welcome criticism from every Twitter GM. But seriously, no Twitter GM would’ve done that bad of a job negotiating. O’Brien thought he was playing chess and he was actually playing Candy Land.

What’s even crazier is that Colts general manager Chris Ballard has only traded substantial draft picks — not players — and turned that into a stable of guys that make up the team’s starting lineup (and depth) on both sides of the ball. Indy fans should appreciate their GM a lot more after looking at this.

These are the kinds of trades that make or break a franchise. O’Brien undoubtedly “broke” the Texans in a way because he rarely ever had draft capital, overpaid for players (Laremy Tunsil), and undersold his stars.

On the other hand, Ballard built the Colts up after losing their franchise QB Andrew Luck to retirement and perfectly played his hands over the last two drafts, trading three of the team’s first-round picks in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to get his hands on nine players.

Night and day. It’s upsetting that O’Brien will be gone and won’t be able to keep the Texans treading the waters of mediocrity, but Colts fans should just focus on what they have in front of them with Ballard, who’s built an impressive roster against all odds.