When reports surfaced that new Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien would call the plays for the Texans' offense in 2014, some fans were understandably skeptical. After all, Gary Kubiak essentially did the same thing during his time as the head coach in Houston, although he had an offensive coordinator on his staff (in title, at least) and allegedly received input from him. Kubiak took some heat for acting as the Texans' OC instead of focusing on overseeing the entire team in his capacity as a head coach, especially up until Wade Phillips came aboard as defensive coordinator. Once Wade arrived and essentially became "Head Coach--Defense," that criticism of Kubiak was muted; that's what consecutive AFC South titles will do, I suppose. Unlike Kubiak, it would appear that O'Brien isn't even going to pretend to have an offensive coordinator on his new staff.
Although George Godsey and Eric Mangini have been rumored as candidates for the offensive coordinator vacancy in Houston, The Chronicle's Brian T. Smith tweets that O'Brien will likely go without an OC since he'll be calling the offense for Houston:
Asked if #Texans will hire an OC, Smith said that's a question for O'Brien to answer.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) January 21, 2014
O'Brien said he'll call plays for Texans, so position will likely go unfilled.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) January 21, 2014
Personally, I think this has the makings of a very bad idea. That's not to question O'Brien's play-calling prowess; his offensive chops are why he's the head coach of your Houston Texans now. The guy knows how to call a game. My concern is rooted in the same deserved criticism that Kubiak got--that having to focus his resources on calling the offense will take away from O'Brien's ability to manage the entire roster. Assuming the plan is for new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to fill Wade Phillips' role as "Head Coach--Defense," I still don't think it's a good idea for O'Brien to wear the hats of both head coach and offensive coordinator.
Offensive gurus like Sean Payton and Chip Kelly employ offensive coordinators on their staffs, so I'm not quite sure how going without one, particularly in his first foray into the NFL head coaching ranks, makes sense for O'Brien. At a minimum, even if he's going to call the offense, it would make sense for O'Brien to have another offensive coach on staff to bounce ideas off of and to work with in implementing game plans. What say you?