Kaz’s Korner 

Joe Kazmar – For The Record

After thinking about it a lot, I admit I’ve been very critical about Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien’s inability to spot a competent, qualified quarterback to lead his team.

But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced the lunkhead is not O’Brien, but rather General Manager Rick Smith.  All O’Brien can do in each NFL game is play those on the 53-man roster which is formulated by General Manager Rick Smith.

Last Friday the Houston Chronicle ran an article on its Face book page from fans commenting to team owner Bob McNair about the Texans quarterback situation.

One person wrote: “Don’t wait or slot these QBs. If you like one–and there are five draftable ones this year–trade up and get him.”

Another pointed out: “Pony up to the bar, McNair. Get us a great QB. It was so bad in the wild card game, we all considered starting a gofundme page to buy one ourselves. Stop the shortsightedness and get it done.”

This one may have hit the nail on the head: “Oh please! Like this old geezer (McNair) cares about winning. Money is his priority. If he cared about winning, the Texans would have gotten a better QB than a Cleveland reject. It takes a real genius to realize you can’t win much without a quality QB.”

These last two go along with my new thinking: “First off: Fire Rick Smith! He has done damage to the Texans franchise focusing on defense, which is not going anywhere. He is the cancer for the Texans! If McNair chooses not to, then do what I said numerous times: SELL THE TEXANS FRANCHISE!”

This one is right, too: “Since 2004, we’ve had countless quarterbacks, countless head coaches, and the general manager stays the same. Fire Rick Smith.”

The NFL Scouting Combine began last Friday and extended into this week which had many draftable college football players who were invited to attend the function at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

One of the main goals of the Combine is to prepare these future NFL players for what the league is asking them to do in these tests. It’s about an athlete’s ability to focus and deliver under pressure in a finite amount of time. It might seem monotonous and trivial at times, but it is imperative.

Some of the Combine events include the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and short shuttle, along with the Wonderlic personnel and logic exam. They conduct interviews to delve into players’ character and doctors will poke and prod them to gauge injury histories.

Several pro scout and NFL coaches who attended the Combine commented on what a great quarterback coach Bill O’Brien must be to have played four different quarterbacks and still won enough games (9-7) to make it to the post-season playoffs last season.

They pointed out that when he was the quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots he groomed Tom Brady into the quarterback he is today.

When O’Brien was the head coach at Penn State, his starting quarterback was Christian Hackenberg,  a 6-4½, 221-pound player who excelled as a freshman directing a pro-style offense for the Nittany Lions.

But when O’Brien left to become head coach of the Houston Texans, Hackenberg struggled in the spread offense installed by James Franklin, who succeeded O’Brien in 2014.

O’Brien has been eyeballing Hackenberg at the Combine along with Memphis University quarterback Paxton Lynch, a 6-7, 245-pounder who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.86 and flashed arm strength and uncommon athleticism.

“I’ve always relied on my athletic ability with my size and arm strength in college,” Lynch told the Chronicle last weekend. “I know that’s going to be different in the NFL. These guys are a lot faster, those windows are a lot smaller, and those defenses do a lot more tricky stuff than they do in college.”

Lynch and Hackenberg were among the quarterbacks who met with the Texans recently.

Perhaps one of these college stars will be the answer to the quarterback dilemma that has plagued the Houston Texans since they were given a franchise by the NFL some 14 years ago.

That is unless Bob McNair or Rick Smith disagrees!!!

KWICKIES…Chris Correa (no relation to Astros’ rookie shortstop Carlos Correa), the former St. Louis Cardinals executive who pleaded guilty to hacking the Astros’ database, is set to be sentenced April 18 by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes. Correa is to be sentenced on five felony counts, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

The No. 15 Duke Blue Devils got their banjos strummed Sunday in Pittsburgh by the Panthers 76-62 and gave their NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament hopes a jolt as the season winds down to its last couple of games.

Sergio Garcia shot a final round 71 Sunday to choke away still another PGA Tour victory as Adam Scott shot 70 to win by one stroke over the hard-luck Spaniard who has 15 second-place finishes and zero majors during his career.

ESPN announced Monday afternoon that the NFL was considering to completely eliminate the chop block.

And while on the subject, ESPN also announced Monday that the New England Patriots extended quarterback Tom Brady’s contract through 2019.

After starting the 2016 baseball season with six consecutive victories, the Lamar Cardinals cooled off last weekend and dropped the final three games of a four-game series to North Dakota State at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont.

Don Mattingly, who sported a mustache throughout his playing career with the New York Yankees, recently announced a new team policy as the first-year manager of the Miami Marlins that all players must be clean-shaven.

JUST BETWEEN US…Major league baseball teams who have been at their spring training sites for the past couple of weeks in Florida or Arizona will begin the Grapefruit League and Cactus League games this week. The Houston Astros seem to be pretty happy with the players in camp, but the real test will come during the month of March when the live action takes place in the exhibition games before the season begins in April.