Bill O’Brien: Just give him Coach of the Year already


Despite starting four different quarterbacks the Houston Texans are 8-7 and can win the AFC South which is a testament to their coach’s ability

Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was really honest about his team early on this season, saying they simply weren’t very good.

"“We’re 1-1 in the division,” O’Brien said back in October via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve got a divisional game coming up next week. We’re 2-5. We know we’re not very good right now, but there’s a lot of season left, so that’s what it is. We’ve only played two divisional games and we’ve got another divisional game coming up next week.”"

At that point the 2-5 Texans looked dead in the water, but O’Brien was right, there was a lot of season left to be played.

That honesty he displayed was refreshing, but it was also necessary. Admitting the team was in rough shape meant he was ready to look at everything from the ground up in order to find a way to win.

The result has been a record of 6-2 since that point, and the defense which struggled early on is now playing smarter football and making up for an offense that lacks true firepower outside of receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The defensive resurgence is one reason the second year head coach deserves to be awarded the Coach of the Year trophy. The quarterback situation is the other.

Just like last season, this team is snake bitten at the most important position in football. In 2014 the team used Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Tom Savage and Case Keenum en route to a 9-7 season which saw them just miss out on the post season.

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Again the team has used four different starting quarterbacks, two of which weren’t even on the roster before October. The original starter was Brian Hoyer, who was benched for Mallett and then took the job back.

Mallett was released and the team turned to T.J. Yates after Hoyer was injured. In November they claimed Brandon Weeden off waivers from Dallas and he has now been instrumental in their success due to Hoyer’s lingering concussion issues and Yates tearing his ACL.

Yet despite the uncertainty at quarterback, the Texans have a shot of going 9-7, if they can beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17.

That win would also give them the AFC South title, which should secure the fact that O’Brien deserves to be awarded as the best coach in the game in 2015.

He showed the ability to keep his team focused and fighting hard, despite a losing record. He was smart enough to claim Weeden, knowing the former first-round pick could help if needed.

O’Brien has also shown the smarts to try new things when the old ways fail, something several coaches can’t grasp. When they had to turn to Yates, fresh off the streets, O’Brien used receiver Cecil Shorts III in the wildcat, a new wrinkle that defenses weren’t ready for.

In their latest win, a 34-6 blowout against division rival Tennessee, O’Brien again shocked people by trying something fresh. After signing receiver/quarterback B.J. Daniels off the Seattle Seahawks practice squad just six days prior to the game, he rotated the athletic passer in the game several times.

The result wasn’t spectacular, only six rush yards and seven pass yards for Daniels, but again it gave the defense something to worry about.

For his ability to adapt, motivate and adjust game plans on the fly, Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien deserves to be rewarded for his stellar season.

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