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Red Zone Play: Pros & Cons Of Bill O’Brien

To keep Bill O’Brien or cast him aside, that is the question.

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texan Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

One of the more click-baitey, rumor-driven Texans-centric sites is claiming Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is about to be fired. While an argument could be made to blame all the current woes on O’Brien, a defense could also be mounted to insulate the dimple-chinned coach from the just plain awfulness that is the 2017 Houston Texans season.

Make no mistake, Bill O’Brien is a very likable guy, but when you run down the list of Super Bowl champion head coaches, is “likable” the common trait they all possess? Maybe it is...

While I know all of you have opinions of your own and valid reasons to swing the pendulum either direction, it seems the best way to achieve analysis paralysis is to list the pros and cons for either side of the argument.


· The players love O’Brien and want to play for him. At the end of the day, a huge part of a coach’s job is to motivate players, and O’Brien seems able to do just that.

· Houston has won two straight AFC South Division championships, Brian.

· Houston recorded its best game in franchise history this season when O’Brien and phenom rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson led them on a crusade to annihilate the Titans 57-14 back in Week Four.

· See that last point because it’s worth repeating.

· See that last point because it’s also worth repeating.

· When finally given the right tools and talent, O’Brien’s offense proved it was a winner – finally, albeit briefly, as DW4 was lost to a season-ending injury on November 2nd.

While all of those combined hardly make O’Brien the next Bill Walsh, or maybe even the next Bum Phillips, it’s easy to see why some might fight tooth and nail to keep BO’B around.

Let’s take a look at the counter-points for a moment.


· Year in and year out, O’Brien has been absolutely unable to identify a solid quarterback to lead this team, at least until Deshaun Watson came along.

· Speaking of Watson coming along, O’Brien decided Tom Savage was the better option in the offseason and gave him most of the reps under center. This was one year after deciding that Brock Osweiler was better than Savage...let the head scratching on that one continue...

· O’Brien calls an A-Gap run so often it might as well be on an Amazon subscription service with automatic, off-center delivery.

· His clock management has more than once contributed to a big “L.”

· His inability to outcoach his former mentor, Bill Belichick, is almost like watching Darth Vader spank Luke Skywalker over and over again. “The Force is strong with you young O’Brien, but you are not a coach yet.”

· O’Brien at one point arguably had the most talented roster in franchise history and couldn’t manage to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.

At the end of the day, if the team really is looking to change coaches now, you can make a valid argument that J.J. Watt’s career has been officially wasted, Deshaun Watson may not come back and have the type of success he had this season prior to his injury if someone brings in a whole new offense that doesn’t make use of Watson’s unique talents, and the resulting culture shift of coaching staffs will throw away the 2018 season as well.

But with the way Rick Smith leveraged the draft picks over the last calendar year to essentially trade Brock Osweiler for Deshaun Watson (a trade worth making every minute of every day, mind you), calling 2018 a rebuilding year may be a foregone conclusion since the team has too many gaping holes and lacks quality depth at most positions.

What do you think? Have a pro/con list of your own? Think O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith both need to be shown the door? Are you convinced they all deserve a pass, or that the strength and conditioning coach needs to be run out of town due to all the season ending injuries? Fill us in on your thoughts below.