The narrative surrounding Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien continues to intrigue.
Texans owner Bob McNair says Bill O’Brien isn’t going anywhere after this season, no matter what happens. O’Brien himself made comments after his team’s big win over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday that indicate he’s not interested in going anywhere else. Yet there persists an idea in NFL circles that the coach might still somehow find his way on another team in the near future.
Peter King reported in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column that O’Brien would be a “strong candidate” to coach two teams with vacancies at head coach this offseason, if things don’t work out in Houston.
“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.”
This leads us to an interesting column by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, who provides one potential reason things could blow up in Houston.
In it, he reports that those close to O’Brien believe he wants much more power than he currently has working with Texans general manager Rich Smith. That he wants the type of power that Bill Belichick has in New England, essentially as a coach/general manager combo.
“The people who know O’Brien believe he wants more,” Robinson writes. “Specifically, more power to shape his team. More influence over his roster. More power over draft picks. More power to cut any player he sees fit at whatever moment he deems necessary. Not to mention more power over the local media, which O’Brien apparently believes gets a significant amount of leeway from the franchise.
“Right now, Smith ultimately has control of most of those things. And O’Brien is very familiar with another way to do it. A way where the power flows from the head coach outward, where he provides the franchise’s blueprint.”
That’s not something that works out very well in the NFL. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles, who gave that power to Chip Kelly, who in turn destroyed the team’s roster over the course of one season.
The Texans are currently preparing to face none other than Belichick’s Patriots in the Divisional Round. The same Patriots team that blanked them 27-0 in September in a game that saw Brock Osweiler look like a lost puppy going up against New England’s defense. The same quarterback that team general manager Smith payed $37 million guaranteed, despite the fact that O’Brien had never before even met the quarterback.
No wonder he wants more power. But will Houston, or any other NFL team give it to him? That’s an interesting question.