Bill O’Brien is finally out as head coach and general manager of the Houston Texans.
It was a move that should have been made the moment that he sent star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson’s most reliable target, to Arizona for running back David Johnson and a bag of Fritos.
O’Brien also lost the Texans’ first and second-round picks next year, thanks to a 2019 trade with Miami for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Neither has shown the ability to get Houston past the wild card round.
After an 0-4 start to the 2020 season, O’Brien was canned, having produced a team dead last in rushing offense and rushing defense. The Texans ranked 27th in total offense after signing one of the best young quarterbacks in the league to an extension that made him the second-most paid player in the NFL.
This is compared to an offense that ranked 13th in total offense during the 2019 regular season.
Don’t even get me started on the failure of O’Brien to get Watson an adequate offensive line since the quarterback was drafted in 2017. In the first four games, the Texans have already given up 16 sacks to opponents — also last in the league.
The Texans have actually never been ranked higher than 30th in sacks allowed since Watson was drafted in 2017.
To make matters worse, the Texans had the highest payroll of any team in the league, all to wind up winless through the first four weeks.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is hardcore proof that O’Brien cannot evaluate talent.
If it had not been for the stellar play of Watson over the last few seasons, the Texans would have never stood a chance of making the playoffs.
The Texans’ limited success over the last three years is a testament strictly to Watson, Hopkins, and defensive leaders like J.J. Watt. None of whom were drafted by O’Brien.
O’Brien notched four AFC South titles after taking over the Texans in 2014, but the team never made it past the divisional round of the playoffs.
In addition to his struggles, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that O’Brien and Texans Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby were not “seeing eye-to-eye recently.”
The Texans released a statement on O’Brien’s firing:
“On behalf of my family and our entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Bill O’Brien and his family for their impact on our franchise,” team chairman and chief executive officer Cal McNair said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“Bill’s leadership moved our organization forward … Bill proved himself as a coach and leader in this league. I spoke with him earlier today and told him we are moving in a different direction.”
Romeo Crennel will serve as interim coach for the rest of the season.
O’Brien proved two things in his time with the Texans: He can’t evaluate talent, and he is a mediocre coach at best.
It was time for him to get to stepping from Houston, where he was holding Watson hostage from greatness.
The Texans need to think long and hard about the direction they need to go with this next hire. There are a lot of outstanding offensive minds, especially Black offensive minds that they can pair with their star QB.
They can’t mess this up again. Watson can’t play forever.