Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports writes that there was a “prevailing wind” of talk in the NFL personnel and coaching community heading into the Texans’ playoff game against the Raiders that HC Bill O’Brien could be available this offseason.
A few sources Robinson spoke to said it was a “lose-and-he’s-fired” situation while others suggested that O’Brien may actually be willing to mutually part ways with the team. There’s also the suggestion that Texans GM Rick Smith was ready to move on if QB Brock Osweiler struggled badly against the Raiders.
While both Texans owner Bob McNair and O’Brien shot down the reports of discontent within the team, Robinson says that the tension within the Texans “is real” and isn’t something new. According to Robinson, the issues between Smith and O’Brien go back to the start of the preseason and while the team tries to downplay the situation, many believe change is a possibility.
Robinson mentions that sources who know O’Brien believe he wants more power and control over the team’s roster and ways of acquiring talent.
A source familiar with O’Brien told Robinson that the report from last year that linked him to the University of Maryland job may have been floated by him but there’s no proof of this. Robinson’s source also explained that O’Brien would like to run the Texans much like Bill Belichick runs the Patriots in New England but the team’s current structure is standing in the way of this.
This morning, Peter King of TheMMQB.com reported that O’Brien would be a “strong candidate” for two of the six currently available head-coaching jobs.
“Obviously that’s an interesting candidate, but we’d want to know why that thing blew up, if it does,” an unnamed decision-maker told King. “We’d want to know what he [O’Brien] is like to work with.”
O’Brien, 47, was hired by the Texans back in 2014 after spending a few years at Penn State. Since taking the job with Houston, O’Brien has led them to a record of 27-21 (56.3 percent) to go along with two playoff appearances.
We’ll have more regarding O’Brien and his future with the Texans as the news is available.