In a season that has seen not only Houston Texan fans, but also football fans in general keep asking the same two questions: “What the hell is Houston doing?” And, “How does Bill O’Brien still have a job?”, we finally have an answer-
Bill O’Brien and he doesn’t anymore.
Not that you wish any person to be unemployed or anything like that, especially in these times, but let’s be honest here, because that’s what Houston finally did after years of mediocrity, and after an offseason that had the entire league questioning what was going on, and yet, agreeing that their quarterback was being wasted- Houston finally fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien.
His resume isn’t as bad as it looks, it really isn’t- in six complete seasons, O’Brien coached the Texans to a record of 52-44, including four division titles and two divisional playoff loses to teams that eventually won the Super Bowl.
But in 2020, O’Brien went on full nuclear meltdown in H-Town. First, he traded away Houston’s best offensive weapon not named Deshaun Watson, and dealt Deandre Hopkins to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson. Two or three years, it’s a solid trade, but in 2020? Not so much.
On top of that, Houston traded away their 1st and 2nd round picks in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft to acquire wide-receiver Kenny Stills and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Plain and simple, Bill O’Brien is no Andy Reid, and his resume, although solid, proved to be one that showed no promise in Houston, but rather, a wasteland that used the prime of JJ Watt and was close to using up Deshaun Watson’s career too.
It’s a sad story, not for O’Brien, he’ll be fine. Someone will pickup the former offensive-minded head coach will land a job somewhere, just not a head coaching job anytime soon, let alone anything where he is offered GM duties. The sad story is that the league keeps hiring coaches like O’Brien and Jay Gruden and Matt Patricia, who are way out of their leagues as head coaches. That’s not to say they are bad coaches, not at all, but head coach is a whole other story, and with O’Brien, although he looked the part, and had an impressive resume that included stays in New England and Penn State, where he won Big Ten coach of the year, his stay in Houston was anything but.
Although he had three straight winning seasons with quarterbacks like Brian Hoyer, Case Keenum, and Brock Osweiler, O’Brien finally landed his guy in 2017, when they traded up to get Deshaun Watson.
And honestly, Deshaun Watson is a straight up stud who never got the franchise treatment on the field the way he should have. In the last couple of drafts alone, Houston has missed on some real home runs on offense- home runs that could have been tremendous for Deshaun Watson.
In 2018, with no first or second round picks, the Texans went defense in the third round with their first pick and offensive tackle with their second pick of the round, passing up on guys like wide receiver Michael Gallup, tight end Mark Andrews, and offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr, the last two making the Pro Bowl last season with Baltimore.
In 2019, Houston passed up on receivers Marquise Brown, Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, and DK Metcalf.
Watson deserved better, we wrote about this not too long ago. It’s not like Houston didn’t attempt to beef up the protection for Watson, but what about some offensive weapons? Instead of a platoon of running backs through the years, the Texans passed on both Miles Saunders and Josh Jacobs in that same 2019 draft that was loaded with all those receivers.
The list goes on and on, and now hopefully, the firing of O’Brien is the first step into protecting the face of the franchise.
Houston scored a rare victory on Monday, it’s true. Good for them. It’s about time.