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What exactly is ‘creative playcalling’?

Marcus

Windmill cancer survivor
That‘s not a trick question, btw.

I’m just curious as to what exactly this so-called “creative playcalling” is, since there is this preponderance of thought that O’Brien doesn’t have the “skill” for it. What’s funny, to me at least, is that thought kinda vanishes when Will Fuller is on the field. Doesn‘t that make it more a player issue?

I‘ll let y’all bat it around.
 

Max

Veteran
Creative play calling recognizes the strengths of your team and personnel and calls plays that emphasize those strengths. It also includes finding simple ways to get your offense and qb into rhythm to build momentum.

For example:
We have a mobile qb who plays better when on the move rather than standing in a pocket that collapses in 2.5 seconds so what plays to call?
creative: roll the pocket
not creative: ask your qb to stand in the collapsing pocket
creative: call a run play for your qb to get his confidence and rhythm going ala what Buffalo did w/ Allen
not creative: ask your qb to stand in the collapsing pocket
creative: rpo to get the defense to commit to defending the run and open up the middle of the field
not creative: ask your qb to stand in the collapsing pocket and find a receiver open in less than 2 seconds against press nickel coverage

1st 2 1/2 quarter = not creative
last 1 1/2 quarter = more creative
 

Carr Bombed

Hall of Fame
I'm watching the game again. Just watched Watson's 20 yard YD QB sweep.

Only difference I see between 1st & 2nd half is that the plays in the 2nd half worked.
I watched the game 2 times already and this is definitely not true.. we had to air it out in the 2nd half and actually use Duke as a pass option since we dug ourselves in a multiple touchdown deficit. I find poetic justice in Deshaun Watson having his largest comeback in his entire football career and giving Buffalo their largest comeback loss.. but let's not polish a turd here.. a good game plan would've never put us in that deficit to begin with..

O'Brien was well on his way to another home playoff blowout loss.. in the second half our QB put his cape on and saved the day.. like he's done multiple times before, so I don't understand why anyone would ever question his ability to be our answer at the QB position.
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
O'Brien was well on his way to another home playoff blowout loss.. in the second half our QB put his cape on and saved the day..
I'm not denying that. But the play calling was the same. First half we couldn't get many of our plays off because of their pass rush.

& Watson was very indecisive the first half. We needed him to tuck it & run like he did the 2nd half & open up the Bills' defense.
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
I'm watching the game again. Just watched Watson's 20 yard YD QB sweep.

Only difference I see between 1st & 2nd half is that the plays in the 2nd half worked.
A play that works doesn't necessarily mean that it's creative.
A creative play doesn't necessarily works.

Running up the butt of Martin isn't creative.
What Hopkins and Watson conjured up a few weeks ago that went for a TD was creative.

Creative play calling is another matter.
IMO, it means calling play that the opponent doesn't expect at a certain moment in tme.
Like how the Bills trumped up at the beginning of the game.
It certainly caught the Texans D off-guard.

It's difficult to do it all the time, nigh impossible. But a few sprinkling in here and there can help your offense and gives it a spark.
My gripe with OB is that he does very little of this (ie., not enough).

For a little while, I had the same complaint for Kubiak.
I even wished that he would consult with Art Briles some. I believe you can get ideas from other coaches.

See how the wildcat was succesful at one time. Lately, it was RPO.
In the old days, I think it was Tom Landry who came up with the flex TE.
Then somebody split the RB wide.

Nowadays, everything is pretty much copy cats.
But still, the coaches that have a few up their sleeves and spring them out at the opportune time can help out the players.
That's what the coaches are for.

The same thing goes for the defense.
 

amazing80

Fire Billy O
Sometimes it’s not about being creative but rather having a feel for the game. Running up the middle 10 of 13 times on first down is ridiculous. Especially against the Bucs top rated run defense. OB lacks the in game feel that makes a good OC. He consistently calls too conservative of a game plan. For instance in OT on our first drive. Watson was rolling and what does OB do? He calls a run play that goes for no yards deep in our end. Why? We’re not trying to establish the run at this point. Let your hot QB do his thing. The guy has no feel on coaching the offense.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
I'm not denying that. But the play calling was the same. First half we couldn't get many of our plays off because of their pass rush.

& Watson was very indecisive the first half. We needed him to tuck it & run like he did the 2nd half & open up the Bills' defense.

Thing is , those plays in the 2nd half of the 2nd half were pretty much designed to get Watson out of the pocket , not stand there and find a target.

That is what this offense should look like all the time , not when the proverbial crap hits the fan.

Watson is the most accurate QB in the league - on the run / outside the pocket and is a threat to take it to paydirt on any given play - that puts tremendous pressure on the defense - You absolutely have to take advantage of that.

The first half , OB was asking him to stand in the pocket and be Brady / Brees while the Buffalo defense played a very disciplined gap control scheme aimed at keeping Watson hemmed in , not allowing him to escape after the pocket collapsed.
Second half they got him in space and moved the pocket around. The Buffalo defense couldn't confine him and he was able to move around / buy time or get gone.
 

Max

Veteran
I'm watching the game again. Just watched Watson's 20 yard YD QB sweep.

Only difference I see between 1st & 2nd half is that the plays in the 2nd half worked.
1:41 remaining in the 3rd was the first called run play for Watson. The play call resulted in a TD. Watson's stats prior to the called run: 9-13 81 yards 0 td 5 sacks. After (and including) the called run: 11-12 166 yards 1 td passing, 1 td running 2 sacks.

Posted this earlier but I'll post it again. Steve Young at half time, "get him physically involved. He sits in the pocket and get sacked, and it affects your emotions as well, it's really hurtful to the team not getting Deshaun physically involved"

When we finally did this with the called run play for Watson, the flip switched and we were a different team. Watson had 2 more run plays called after the running TD as well. It wasn't until Watson got involved in the running game that the same plays called in the 1st half worked in the 2nd half. When things aren't going well, Watson needs called run plays to get himself going. It's always been that way and BOB hasn't figured it out yet. This game once again proved it.
 

JB

Old Curmudgeon
Contributor's Club
1:41 remaining in the 3rd was the first called run play for Watson. The play call resulted in a TD. Watson's stats prior to the called run: 9-13 81 yards 0 td 5 sacks. After (and including) the called run: 11-12 166 yards 1 td passing, 1 td running 2 sacks.

Posted this earlier but I'll post it again. Steve Young at half time, "get him physically involved. He sits in the pocket and get sacked, and it affects your emotions as well, it's really hurtful to the team not getting Deshaun physically involved"

When we finally did this with the called run play for Watson, the flip switched and we were a different team. Watson had 2 more run plays called after the running TD as well. It wasn't until Watson got involved in the running game that the same plays called in the 1st half worked in the 2nd half. When things aren't going well, Watson needs called run plays to get himself going. It's always been that way and BOB hasn't figured it out yet. This game once again proved it.
It makes it a lot easier when everyone knows what Watson is doing
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Sometimes it’s not about being creative but rather having a feel for the game. Running up the middle 10 of 13 times on first down is ridiculous. Especially against the Bucs top rated run defense. OB lacks the in game feel that makes a good OC.
Agreed.

If only we had someone at the LOS who could get us in the right play before the snap.
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
1:41 remaining in the 3rd was the first called run play for Watson. The play call resulted in a TD. Watson's stats prior to the called run: 9-13 81 yards 0 td 5 sacks. After (and including) the called run: 11-12 166 yards 1 td passing, 1 td running 2 sacks.
I hear what you're saying. I'll go back & confirm that was the first designed run for Watson. I don't believe it was. I know we ran a couple of RPOs early where he should have pulled it & ran.
 

Earl34

Rookie
Watch the Saints and Vikings game. Watch the various formations, WR routes and how they are getting their RBs in space. Watch Michael Thomas and compare how Payton is getting him open versus how Hopkins is getting open. Watch Kamara and see how they get him open in space compared to how Duke Johnson is used.

Watch the Eagles' game today. See how Pederson has designed a passing game without one WR getting 500 yards and his QB still threw for 4000 yards. Then ask why even with Hopkins, we struggle so much without Fuller. Watch the Eagles offense and their passing game.

I think it will demonstrate what many posters are trying to articulate.
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Then ask why even with Hopkins, we struggle so much without Fuller. Watch the Eagles offense and their passing game.

I think it will demonstrate what many posters are trying to articulate.
The difference in our offense without Fuller seems to be more of a Watson thing than a BO'b thing.
 

ArlingtonTexan

Moderator
Staff member
A play that works doesn't necessarily mean that it's creative.
A creative play doesn't necessarily works.

Running up the butt of Martin isn't creative.
What Hopkins and Watson conjured up a few weeks ago that went for a TD was creative.

Creative play calling is another matter.
IMO, it means calling play that the opponent doesn't expect at a certain moment in tme.
Like how the Bills trumped up at the beginning of the game.
It certainly caught the Texans D off-guard.

It's difficult to do it all the time, nigh impossible. But a few sprinkling in here and there can help your offense and gives it a spark.
My gripe with OB is that he does very little of this (ie., not enough).

For a little while, I had the same complaint for Kubiak.
I even wished that he would consult with Art Briles some. I believe you can get ideas from other coaches.

See how the wildcat was succesful at one time. Lately, it was RPO.
In the old days, I think it was Tom Landry who came up with the flex TE.
Then somebody split the RB wide.

Nowadays, everything is pretty much copy cats.
But still, the coaches that have a few up their sleeves and spring them out at the opportune time can help out the players.
That's what the coaches are for.

The same thing goes for the defense.
This is the most accurate post I have read here on this subject. 3/4 of the time when posters are claiming not creative, they are confusing not effective. Players and coaches are not fooled by motion, formation, etc as much as we think as fans. And even once true innovation happens it is adapted by and/or corrected for by the opposition anyway.
 

powda

Founding father of the W.B.
I think we've all seen it this year. The Texans offense is very much a jeckle and hyde system.

We go from an end around, veer, rpo offense with lots of movement to the vanilla base junk we saw yesterday in the 1st half.

Why the extremes?

I think the natural pass rush and blitz tendencies of defenses dictate what we do. The problem with all that rpo misdirection builsness is it takes time. Any d front with penatration wrecks it fast. To put it simply, if the coaching staff believes we cant block their front effectively we get the vanilla turtle offense.

Well, were in the playoffs now and most all of these defenses will be solid. I think we're gonna see more of ob's "good luck" offense.

In some ways this vanilla brand of offense reminds me of our defense. "Bend but dont break." On defense we keep things in front and force the offense to execute again and again hoping for a mistake...

This vanilla offense is very much the same. We play hoping for a mistake by the defense. Its irritating to watch. We aren't doing anything special or forcing the hand of any defense. Jmo.
 
I loved the option play even though Hyde dropped it. He had a walk in TD. That's playing to Deshaun's strengths, make a defender either commit to him or the running back. Hyde dropped the ball but it was a great pitch and he just mishandled it. The very next play they do a bootleg play action pass and Hyde is wide open in the end zone.

That's the stuff I like to see, getting Deshaun outside the pocket and give him space to improvise. He's the best I've ever seen at improvising when stuff breaks down. A creative play caller looks to embrace the chaos of improvisation and look to find ways to get him into positions where he excels. For whatever reason, time seems to slow down for him when the chaos is unleashed and just finds a way to make plays.

Teams always develop tendencies on offense as the season goes, it's just what happens. Bill's tendency is running up the middle in the same two or three formations on first down a stupid number of times. What I would like to see him do is play off those tendencies that teams expect and hit them with something different. I don't claim to have the answers but it just seems bizarre that a person can watch the Texans for one quarter and know to expect a run up the middle on the first first down seemingly 90% of the time.
 

frethack

Rookie
Watch the Saints and Vikings game. Watch the various formations, WR routes and how they are getting their RBs in space. Watch Michael Thomas and compare how Payton is getting him open versus how Hopkins is getting open. Watch Kamara and see how they get him open in space compared to how Duke Johnson is used.

Watch the Eagles' game today. See how Pederson has designed a passing game without one WR getting 500 yards and his QB still threw for 4000 yards. Then ask why even with Hopkins, we struggle so much without Fuller. Watch the Eagles offense and their passing game.

I think it will demonstrate what many posters are trying to articulate.
Hopkins was open quite a bit in the first half across the middle of the field. Buffalo got so much pressure that DW4 either didnt have time to throw and/or wasnt able to see the field. He looked like he was starting to see ghosts and abandoned the pocket too early at times...not early enough at other times.

I agree with the posters arguing for more play action, RPOs, rolling the pocket and more misdirection. I'm a huge Watson fan, but he really needs to work on his play action fake. Schaub was a magician at it, but Watson often doesnt sell it.
 

amazing80

Fire Billy O
Hopkins was open quite a bit in the first half across the middle of the field. Buffalo got so much pressure that DW4 either didnt have time to throw and/or wasnt able to see the field. He looked like he was starting to see ghosts and abandoned the pocket too early at times...not early enough at other times.

I agree with the posters arguing for more play action, rolling the pocket and more misdirection. I'm a huge Watson fan, but he really needs to work on his play action fake. Schaub was a magician at it, but Watson often doesnt sell it.
This IMO is Watson's biggest flaw. He is straight trash with his play fake. For all the crap I gave Schaub over the years, that man had the best play fake I have ever seen in my life. I don't think any of our QBs under OB have had good play fakes. Am I wrong?
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
It’s almost like this coaching staff can’t scout opposing teams on film and have to see what they are doing in person before they get their sh!t together.
….. its like they haven't scouted their own team much less the opposition?! They don't even know what they are good at.
 

DBCooper

Outlaw
Contributor's Club
Y’all are kidding right?

When Watson is doing the RPO and the quick slants and threat of running he’s absolutely awesome with the play fake.

It’s when he’s doing the O’Brien offense that it looks lazy and slow.
 

amazing80

Fire Billy O
Y’all are kidding right?

When Watson is doing the RPO and the quick slants and threat of running he’s absolutely awesome with the play fake.

It’s when he’s doing the O’Brien offense that it looks lazy and slow.
His RPO stuff is ok, but his traditional drop backs with PA is trash
 

Porky

Hall of Fame
I'm not denying that. But the play calling was the same. First half we couldn't get many of our plays off because of their pass rush.

& Watson was very indecisive the first half. We needed him to tuck it & run like he did the 2nd half & open up the Bills' defense.
We must have watched two completely different games. The play calls that I saw totally changed about midway through qtr 3. Much more suited to Watson's strengths. OB just insists on ramming that square peg into that round hole until it's oh well we're getting our tails beat, let me change it up. Why do you think this team is consistently **** on offense for first quarters, and often entire half's? (hint - It's not the players).

If he's this creative genius, let's see a polished game plan against KC that actually works to the strength of his key players. And how about coming out with some tempo and/or something to get the juices flowing, like a bomb or something to jack the team up. Enough of running up Martin's backside on first down and having Watson standing back in the pocket like a sitting duck. That dog don't hunt!
 

Earl34

Rookie
….. its like they haven't scouted their own team much less the opposition?! They don't even know what they are good at.
I agree with you. Many NFL teams have quality control or analytics people on their staff and during the bye week, they are suppose to provide the coaches with self scouting reports on trends and tendencies. Does anyone know if the Texans are doing the same? There is no way a coach should be so obtuse that he runs the ball on 10 out of 13 first downs into a good run stopping defense.
 
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steelbtexan

Hall of Fame
1:41 remaining in the 3rd was the first called run play for Watson. The play call resulted in a TD. Watson's stats prior to the called run: 9-13 81 yards 0 td 5 sacks. After (and including) the called run: 11-12 166 yards 1 td passing, 1 td running 2 sacks.

Posted this earlier but I'll post it again. Steve Young at half time, "get him physically involved. He sits in the pocket and get sacked, and it affects your emotions as well, it's really hurtful to the team not getting Deshaun physically involved"

When we finally did this with the called run play for Watson, the flip switched and we were a different team. Watson had 2 more run plays called after the running TD as well. It wasn't until Watson got involved in the running game that the same plays called in the 1st half worked in the 2nd half. When things aren't going well, Watson needs called run plays to get himself going. It's always been that way and BOB hasn't figured it out yet. This game once again proved it.
Spot On

I would run him atleast 10 times a game on designed QB runs just to make sure he's physically in the game like Young said. I would use DW4 like Buffalo used Allen. This would be for the playoffs only.
 

steelbtexan

Hall of Fame
I think we've all seen it this year. The Texans offense is very much a jeckle and hyde system.

We go from an end around, veer, rpo offense with lots of movement to the vanilla base junk we saw yesterday in the 1st half.

Why the extremes?

I think the natural pass rush and blitz tendencies of defenses dictate what we do. The problem with all that rpo misdirection builsness is it takes time. Any d front with penatration wrecks it fast. To put it simply, if the coaching staff believes we cant block their front effectively we get the vanilla turtle offense.

Well, were in the playoffs now and most all of these defenses will be solid. I think we're gonna see more of ob's "good luck" offense.

In some ways this vanilla brand of offense reminds me of our defense. "Bend but dont break." On defense we keep things in front and force the offense to execute again and again hoping for a mistake...

This vanilla offense is very much the same. We play hoping for a mistake by the defense. Its irritating to watch. We aren't doing anything special or forcing the hand of any defense. Jmo.
And playing the clock.

I think you will see an offense like we saw earlier this yr in Kansas City on Sunday.
 

steelbtexan

Hall of Fame
We must have watched two completely different games. The play calls that I saw totally changed about midway through qtr 3. Much more suited to Watson's strengths. OB just insists on ramming that square peg into that round hole until it's oh well we're getting our tails beat, let me change it up. Why do you think this team is consistently **** on offense for first quarters, and often entire half's? (hint - It's not the players).

If he's this creative genius, let's see a polished game plan against KC that actually works to the strength of his key players. And how about coming out with some tempo and/or something to get the juices flowing, like a bomb or something to jack the team up. Enough of running up Martin's backside on first down and having Watson standing back in the pocket like a sitting duck. That dog don't hunt!
I would say the gameplan looked pretty good last game in Kansas City.
 

Max

Veteran
Spot On

I would run him atleast 10 times a game on designed QB runs just to make sure he's physically in the game like Young said. I would use DW4 like Buffalo used Allen. This would be for the playoffs only.
I posted Steve Youngs comments twice because of the similarity of his game to Watson's and if anyone would know what it's like being in the head of Watson during a game where things aren't going the qb's way -- it's Steve Young. Young was frustrated with the play calling -- not Watson's play. Frustrated that the play calling wasn't finding a way to get Watson out of his funk. It was clear that standing in the pocket wasn't working to anyone w/ eyeballs. I think it's silly (not directed at you SB) that people are putting it on Watson for him not deciding to run earlier in the game. I understand that Watson decides if he's going to keep the ball or not on a RPO call, but it is ridiculous to think that the play caller can't call a run play for Watson alone or pull him aside and tell him that he needs him to run the ball to get him out of his funk and make that a point of emphasis. It's clear that BOB didn't do that. I really think that BOB not having someone else calling plays is hurting us immensely. If Kelly were calling the plays, BOB would be able to step back and see the bigger picture and pull Kelly aside and make sure he makes the adjustments needed. BOB's too engrossed in calling the next play to be able to see larger trends like this that are affecting the game. For the record, I'm not calling for BOB to turn Watson into Lamar Jackson. Just to recognize what a called run play can do to get Watson going. If it takes 10 run plays -- then do it. I don't think that Watson has to run this much though to bring out the best in him.

Watson has shown he can deliver from the pocket as well as read the different defensive schemes.
I agree with this. My thoughts about Watson running are that there are times when a defense is doing things that passing from the pocket is going to frustrate him as it would any qb because they are a team with a good pass defense. A pocket qb like Brees or Brady would probably eventually figure things out from the pocket. Watson's not on that level yet as a pocket qb and he may never be. The short cut to getting Watson going when he's in one of those funks is to have him run the ball. It's the psychological part of the game that Steve Young was referring to -- once he's had a positive play running the ball, the momentum is going and suddenly things that weren't working from the pocket are going to start working. BOB does a poor job of doing simple things that can get Watson into a rhythm.
 

Texecutioner

Hall of Fame
It looked real good when the Texans were behind 17-3 did it? Could have fooled me.

It just proves my point. OB didn’t change until he was forced to due to falling behind as per usual.
Yeah, but wouldn't you credit him just a little for making the proper adjustments on offense and the defense to get the team back in for a win. I'm not going to lie. I thought the game looked over and like one of those games against KC or Tenn. O'Brien got the team back in it though. Or you could say Watson did if you want to, but at least OB didn't screw it all up and get in the way. It was a good playoff win for the Texans. There are many days to bash O'Brien. I don't think this week is one of them.
 

steelbtexan

Hall of Fame
It looked real good when the Texans were behind 17-3 did it? Could have fooled me.

It just proves my point. OB didn’t change until he was forced to due to falling behind as per usual.
It did

They were turning the ball over and getting penalties. Once that stopped they caught up by halftime. It wasn't a bad gameplan at all.
 

steelbtexan

Hall of Fame
I posted Steve Youngs comments twice because of the similarity of his game to Watson's and if anyone would know what it's like being in the head of Watson during a game where things aren't going the qb's way -- it's Steve Young. Young was frustrated with the play calling -- not Watson's play. Frustrated that the play calling wasn't finding a way to get Watson out of his funk. It was clear that standing in the pocket wasn't working to anyone w/ eyeballs. I think it's silly (not directed at you SB) that people are putting it on Watson for him not deciding to run earlier in the game. I understand that Watson decides if he's going to keep the ball or not on a RPO call, but it is ridiculous to think that the play caller can't call a run play for Watson alone or pull him aside and tell him that he needs him to run the ball to get him out of his funk and make that a point of emphasis. It's clear that BOB didn't do that. I really think that BOB not having someone else calling plays is hurting us immensely. If Kelly were calling the plays, BOB would be able to step back and see the bigger picture and pull Kelly aside and make sure he makes the adjustments needed. BOB's too engrossed in calling the next play to be able to see larger trends like this that are affecting the game. For the record, I'm not calling for BOB to turn Watson into Lamar Jackson. Just to recognize what a called run play can do to get Watson going. If it takes 10 run plays -- then do it. I don't think that Watson has to run this much though to bring out the best in him.

I agree with this. My thoughts about Watson running are that there are times when a defense is doing things that passing from the pocket is going to frustrate him as it would any qb because they are a team with a good pass defense. A pocket qb like Brees or Brady would probably eventually figure things out from the pocket. Watson's not on that level yet as a pocket qb and he may never be. The short cut to getting Watson going when he's in one of those funks is to have him run the ball. It's the psychological part of the game that Steve Young was referring to -- once he's had a positive play running the ball, the momentum is going and suddenly things that weren't working from the pocket are going to start working. BOB does a poor job of doing simple things that can get Watson into a rhythm.
I'm all for doing this in the playoffs.

Live to play another day

If DW4 gets hurt so be it.

In the regular season I want BOB/DW4 to carefully pick their spots. I dont want him running like LJ is in the regular season.
 

powda

Founding father of the W.B.
How 'bout you talk about football on the football part of this thing, and save your drama for your little basement thread? Just a thought.
So les talk football.

You dont like being called out? Dont call someone else out.
 

texanhead08

All Pro
Just like I keep saying this team has too much talent on offense to look as inept as it does for long stretches. There was no excuse for the clusterfuck that was the first half Saturday night that is all on OB.
 

Speedy

Yeller Dweller
So les talk football.

You dont like being called out? Dont call someone else out.
The **** am i being called out on? You're the one complaining about what people say to sbt. I just said your posts don't make it any better. Grow up.
 


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