Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Dec 2013

Texans Hire Bill O'Brien

Per Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, the Houston Texans have hired Penn State coach Bill O'Brien as their next head coach. Bill, meet Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy, meet Bill.

Posted by: Tom Gower on 31 Dec 2013

39 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2014, 5:41pm by Mr Shush


by DavidL :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 12:02am

The way is clear for Schiano?

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 12:06am

Well, it's not Ken Wisenhunt, so there's that.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 1:31am

Tesmas, Raiders,,Jets 3 teams on rise in a.f.cobfernce

by 3.14159265359 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 1:55am

Tesmas, Raiders,,Jets 3 teams on rise in a.f.cobfernce -by Raiderjoe
Those teams would be lucky to win 12 games combined.

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 3:43am

That's just silly. The Texans could easily turn around and win 7-10 games next season. The Jets just pulled off an 8-8 season and their defense could be better next year with all of the defensive line guys having another offseason under their belts. Some o-line improvements and an even mildly mediocre solution to their quarterback woes would get the Jets back into serious wildcard contention. I would say 9-10 win range. That leaves poor Oakland. We love you RaiderJoe, but I don't see it. 6 wins would be a decent season for Oakland next year. Even so, pessimistically, we're looking at something like 20 combined wins.

by andrew :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 9:11am

I've read the Raiders cap situation is dramatically improved... that could either lead to a dramatic short term gain if they go on a spending spree... but I believe given all their work to fix the cap hole they were in they are more likely to be cautious in spending it which would suggest a modest improvement.

I do think their McKenzie is doing a good job.

by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 2:41pm

More like irrational given his user name. ;)

by TomC :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 6:49pm

I saw what you did there.

by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 6:34pm

If the Jets managed an 8-8 record with what they had playing QB this year, then moving to mildly mediocre QB play next year will put them in serious contention to win that division. Bringing the QB play up to just awful will put them at 2 more wins, which is 10.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 12:03am

The Jets are in a similar situation to the Broncos from a couple of years ago. Denver won 8 games in the regular season with Tebow, but going by point differential were only a 6 win team. The Broncos avoided any fallback by switching to Manning. The Jets path to 10 wins or better involves getting better talent around the quarterback and hoping Geno improves in his second year, which seems possible.

by RickD :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 4:07pm

"Those teams would be lucky to win 12 games combined."

They combined for 14 wins this season.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 2:30am

Well that wasn't a long stint with the Lions. Who is being considered there?

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 1:29pm

I think the smart money is on Whisenhunt, who has connections with Mayhew. Of course, they can't talk to him until after the playoffs.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 2:54pm

His reputation as a "quarterback whisperer" makes him intriguing, but it would definitely be a risk, given how his post-Kurt Warner tenure went in Arizona. Not sure how much blame he can take for the inadequate offensive line. But it would be worrisome if he had a shared delusion with the front office that Kevin Kolb could be a viable starter, and that John Skelton was an adequate backup.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 10:02am

Do you really not think that the inadequate line had anything to do with making Kolb look terrible? Pretty much everyone thought Kolb was a viable starter at one point.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 7:37pm

I understand why Whisenhunt wouldn't have time to talk, but is there an actual agreement between the NCAA and NFL that NCAA programs can't reach out to NFL coaches who are still playing?

by Dave0 :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 7:50pm

Whisenhunt is OC of Chargers, and Lions are an NFL team--NCAA isn't involved, or am I misunderstanding your question?

by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 7:59pm

Intropy is talking about the Nittany Lions while everyone else is talking about the Detroit Lions. The short stint with the Lions refers to O'Brien. I haven't heard who the front runner for the Penn State job is.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 9:10pm

Oh yeah, sorry. Duh, Detroit Lions. I wasn't even thinking about the fact they fired their coach as well.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 9:39pm

Somewhere in this thread is a variation of the old "Who's on first" joke.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 9:53pm

My goof -- I wasn't expecting a question about PSU on an NFL thread.

by dryheat :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 10:46pm

I don't think I've once heard PSU teams referred to as the "Lions" before.

by dryheat :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 11:08am

I don't know if he's being considered, or interested at all, but I think Detroit could be the re-entry point for Jon Gruden. Failing that, Jay Gruden.

by Mash Wilson :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 11:29am

Mike Munchak was the presumptive favorite, but Tennessee has made the surprising move of not firing him. Schiano has been linked to the job.

Penn State is going to want a coach with name recognition.

by Lebo :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 3:41pm

What are the odds that the Texans draft Jadeveon Clowney and Bill O'Brien backs himself to develop a less-heralded quarterback?

(If I was drafting for the Texans I would take Teddy Bridgewater without a second thought.)

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 6:24pm

Can't see it. The Texans' best player at any position is a pass-rusher. One of the best of the rest is also a pass-rusher. Quarterback is a black hole and Bridgewater seems a great prospect, not just someone who's going to go first overall because he's a quarterback. It would be madness, and while neither O'Brien nor Smith is perfect, I don't think they're mad.

by panthersnbraves :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 5:04pm

Where can I find the official interview rules? I've seen people complaining that the Redskins are interviewing McDermott for HC during the bye week. I know this is the way things are done, but there are those who feel that this should wait. So I was digging around and found tertiary references, but cannot seem to find the actual rules.

Are they NFL or Coaches Association or what?

by Jerry :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 2:27am

They're NFL rules, designed to make sure that coaches on playoff teams don't lose opportunities because they're still working while minimizing the distraction during playoff preparation. I'm afraid I don't know the exact details, or where you could find them.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 2:28am

I don't think there are any official rules preventing teams from interviewing coaching candidates after the regular season is over.

by panthersnbraves :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 9:39am

There's references to "you can interview any assistant for a Head job, if the season is over for that team, or during the bye week for those seeded #1 or #2, and there is a way to interview during the SB bye week, if that is who you are looking at as well."

There is an unwritten rule that you don't block these, I guess because that way you won't have Assistants wanting to join you. I heard the Redskins blocked a few a while back, though...

But I cannot find the actual rules anywhere.

by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 10:28am

And to be honest there is no real reason to expect to see the "actual rules" posted anywhere. These are internal rules between the NFL and the individual clubs. Sometimes a secondary source for something is reliable enough for things.

What's the fuss anyway. Sean McDermott has one interview during a bye week. I fail to see how this would impact the Panthers in their playoff run.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 12:14pm

Tha Seahawks also granted permission for Cable, Bevall and Quinn to talk to teams during this week provided that they were back on the job next week.

by panthersnbraves :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 4:25pm

I'd hate to see him go, but it is mostly to help people understand the rules and to keep conjecture out of it.

My OCD is telling me it must be on the Inter-web somewhere, but was unable to find...

by Mash Wilson :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 2:33pm

Penn State's AD is saying the hire will be made in a matter of days. That probably means it's Schiano.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 10:00pm

Just the guy to return a disgraced program to respectability. Somehow I'm not sensing a threat to Ohio State's dominance.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Fri, 01/03/2014 - 12:36pm

A strange choice, I agree. He did turn Rutgers around but lots of folks miss the fact he had one really good year and then they slid back considerably. He'll likely get better players at PSU, but the schedule will be tougher than what he saw at Rutgers, so it will likely be a wash. They'll be lucky if he wins as many games as O'Brien.

And, in terms of fixing the program's image, it seems like a really odd choice. O'Brien got tons of respect from the media, but Schiano isn't the most likable guy around. There are going to be snide comments and negative undertones to stories almost instantly unless he wins big. The "my way or the highway" personae is going to be hard to ignore given the situation that led up to the scandal. And I wonder if he's going to have problems with the increased oversight he'll almost certainly see at Penn State.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/04/2014 - 12:59pm

And Crennel comes on board as DC. I think there's ample evidence he's a pretty good one, for all that he was out of his depth as a head coach, and it's probably no bad thing for someone like O'Brien, with limited pro experience, to have an NFL lifer on the other side of the ball.

by Jimmy :: Sat, 01/04/2014 - 2:01pm

If it were e getting the HC gig (and it should be to the eternal gratitude of Texans fans that I am not) I would be very leery of moving Watt - an elite one gap penetrator - to a head up, two gap five technique in Crennel's system. He might be fine or it might limit the impact of the Texans' best player.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 01/06/2014 - 5:41pm

That's true; I guess we'll have to see. Of course, it's possible Crennel will re-jig his system to make the most of having the best defensive player in football anyway.