Reports are indicating that the Houston Texans are retaining head coach Bill O’Brien for the 2018 season. This is after reports that general manager Rick Smith will be taking a leave of absence from the team to tend to his wife.
The retention of O’Brien is a separate issue than Smith’s impending absence. However there is the possibility that retaining O’Brien is more about consistency.
A consistent voice and mind in the room is able to carry the team from this past season into the next. This is pertinent to the development of their sensational rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. A consistent offensive scheme is the key to developing a young quarterback, without one a team ends up like the Cleveland Browns. This is not the franchise to emulate.
Even after a disappointing 4-12 season, O’Brien still has experienced success in Houston. Before this year the Texans had three straight 9-7 seasons. This also included three straight playoff trips and two division titles. Before this past season, the Texans advanced just a little bit farther each season. From making an appearance in a playoff game to winning a playoff game.
After the quarterback change in Week 1, the Texans offense appeared unstoppable at times. Finding ways to score at will, Watson was the most exciting player in the NFL. That is until an untimely ACL injury ended his season. After that the season unraveled at an alarming rate.
During the period of time when Watson was healthy the Texans looked capable of overcoming the
injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The offense was able to outscore opponents to win games and make the AFC South completive, even for a short while.
Allowing O’Brien to continue developing Watson will be key to the Texans season in 2018. If Watson recaptures the magic he found in 2017 the Texans can make a run. It must be said that Watson’s playmaking is result of the scheme crafted by O’Brien to Watson’s talents. The patchwork offensive line also made this scheme a necessity.
A variety of pulling lineman and a moving pocket allowed Watson to make plays for the Texans. This was necessary due to the absence of Duane Brown during his holdout and his subsequent trade. Allowing O’Brien to get another shot of using Watson in this manner is a great move for Houston. O’Brien can further unleash Watson and wreak havoc on the NFL.
If O’Brien fails to rebound after this year then moving on is the best decision. However with his previous success it is not out of the question for Houston to contend next season. There is a lot that has to happen before that happens though. A winning season could be on the horizon. Or a coaching chance after next season. Each scenario has an equal chance of occurring.