Houston Texans Bill O’Brien running out of excuses to execute team’s vision
The time is ticking for Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien to turn the team’s situation around.
Houston Texans’ window to compete for a Super Bowl is wide open with a talented roster on both sides of the football. However, it is yet to be determined whether head coach Bill O’Brien will be in the Texans’ plans down the road. Texans CEO and chairman Cal McNair has placed his vote of confidence behind O’Brien, but that could change depending on how the team fares in the next couple of seasons.
O’Brien will be entering his sixth year as a head coach in the NFL and for the Texans. He has a subpar record of 42-38 in the regular season and a 1-3 record in the playoffs. Under his watch, the team hadn’t performed better than 9-7 in the regular season until last season when the Texans finished 11-5. Last season progression was a positive sign after they went 2-14 in 2017 in the same year O’Brien signed a four-year extension.
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After Rick Smith stepped down as the general manager and Brian Gaine was hired to take over his predecessor, O’Brien seemed to be in control of his future with the Texans as he was going to work closely with a general manager that he approved of. However, Gaine’s hiring was short-lived as he was fired after the first year of the four-year deal he signed in 2018. He had been brought in to work alongside the coaching staff to provide the alignment that O’Brien had always coveted.
Despite the 11-5 season in Gaine’s first season as the general manager, McNair was not satisfied with the Texans progress. McNair believed there had to be a change for the team to take the next step.
It was reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that Houston failed to pry Nick Caserio away from the New England Patriots for the role of general manager and the intention moving forward was for the Texans to go into 2019 with O’Brien and senior vice president of football administration, Chris Olsen, to work on team operations.
By being given more responsibilities and control of the team’s structure, O’Brien is running out of excuses as to why the Texans have failed to catapult itself as one of the upper echelon teams in the NFL. Texans are a contender on paper with a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, solid defensive core, and a diverse group of playmakers on offense. Despite signing an extension last year, there is no guarantee O’Brien sees it through with Cal McNair taking over football operations after his father Bob McNair passed away last year.
O’Brien was hired as the head coach under the original owner of the Texans franchise, so Cal McNair holds no responsibility or emotional attachment to him. If the Texans fail to produce a contender for 2019, this could be the beginning of the end for O’Brien. His winning records in the regular season and playoff berths have only taken him so far, and what he does in the playoffs will factor a bigger role in his future as the Texans’ head coach.