Is Texans Coach Bill O’Brien Quietly Rebuilding The Gronk/Hernandez Connection?


During Bill O’Brien‘s final year in New England, a staple of the Patriots offense was the production of its two tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Texans may possibly have a similar tight end duo on the roster.

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Before I proceed, let me be clear, that I do not claim that the Texans have a “Gronkowski and Hernandez” type talent duo on the roster, however I am saying that they have the opportunity to use their existing group in a similar manner in which the Patriots did.

Gronkowski and Hernandez collectively compiled 169 receptions, 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns at tight end while O’Brien served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011. He definitely knows how to get the most out of the tight end position.

O’Brien also utilized the tight end position heavily as Penn State, and used a similar system to his New England model, with a 3-headed monster at the tight end position in Jesse James, Kyle Carter and Adam Breneman, which collectively accounted for 1/3 of the Nittany Lions receiving touchdowns (9).

Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz, should all be ecstatic about the opportunities that are ahead of them as the passing game transitions away from the Andre Johnson era. These three can expect to be targeted a significant amount of times.

Griffin has a Gronk-like stature, standing at 6’6 and nearly 260 pounds, he could be a huge red zone target (which might actually allow JJ Watt to get some rest and not have to play both sides of the ball for a change). He is the unsung hero of the group and could challenge Graham for the starting role this season.

The tight end position will be a key component in determining the winner of the quarterback position battle between Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.While it is certainly important to get your best offensive weapon. receiver DeAndre Hopkins the ball, I am certain that O’Brien will closely evaluate how each quarterback distributes to the tight ends.

"“(Graham and Griffin) have done a really good job,” O’Brien said. “Those two guys, along with the other tight ends, including C.J., have really come in here, learned well and done some really good things. Like everybody, they’ve had some not-so-good moments. But they’ve had a lot more good moments than poor.”"

2015 should be a breakout season for the tight end group. Don’t be surprised if O’brien feels confident enough in this trio to pass on drafting a wide receiver early in the draft. This year’s offense will be significantly different from last year’s, and you can certainly expect this group to be a major factor in the Texans passing attack.

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