There's been a lot of face-palming, groan-inducing, noose-tightening moments so far this season. Too many to count. However bad the team may be on the field, finding out that Bill O'Brien tried to release Ryan Mallett after the QB missed the team flight to Miami, only to be vetoed by general manager Rick Smith, is just the worst.
Brian T. Smith's report on the subject was likely exaggerated a bit, but no fan wants to hear that amidst an immensely disappointing season, the two men in charge aren't on the same page as to how to correct it.
So O'Brien addressed this specifically in today's presser:
Bill O’Brien addressing the report of front office discord. "When it comes to personnel & coaching and player, it’s a partnership."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2015
And partnerships naturally include disagreements:
Bill O'Brien asked bout decision-making process w/ GM Rick Smith: "The majority of the time we agree.If there's disagreement we work it out"— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 28, 2015
It's all detailed in his contract, after all:
Bill O'Brien said his contract says he operates in concurrence with the general manager, Rick Smith— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 28, 2015
So the reported "discord" between him and Smith was just part of their working relationship:
Asked if he had a confrontation with GM Rick Smith on cutting Mallett, #Texans coach Bill O’Brien: "No." Says they work out disagreements— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2015
So that settles that! Everything should be smooth sailing from here on out, right? RIGHT?
Looking back, it probably was prudent of Smith stepping in and preventing O'Brien from playing with just one active quarterback in an NFL game. O'Brien's demeanor suggests that emotion plays a big part of his decision-making; if Brian Hoyer had gotten injured last Sunday, you can bet O'Brien would have left Mallett on the sideline in favor of punter Shane Lechler, just to prove a point.
If this "partnership" continues past this season, it'll be interesting to see if the duo can mesh their conflicting styles: Smith's cold calculation (as evidenced by his placement of Mike Mohamed on IR despite him relatively close to being healthy) versus O'Brien's hot-headedness.
We'll have to wait and see. It's certainly more entertaining than watching the actual games, anyway.
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