For all the hand-wringing that went on surrounding Bill O’Brien last season, at least one writer thinks quite highly of the Texans’ intrepid head coach. Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty ranks Bill O’Brien seventh among coaches he would “want coaching his team right now.”
Surely this is the result of three consecutive 9-7 seasons with a roving band of warm, wet trash at quarterback. But seventh seems, well, high. I do think Bill O’Brien is a “plus” coach, but Top 15 seems more appropriate to me than Top 10.
When it comes to quarterback disasters of the O’Brien Era, if Rick Smith is holding the gun, the head coach at least has his finger on the trigger as this franchise continues to shoot itself in the foot. So many like to promulgate this idea that Brock Osweiler was forced upon O’Brien by Rick Smith and/or Bob McNair, but this is all speculation without one shred of evidence. There is just simply no way O’Brien was effectively castrated by his owner and GM without him at least signing off, and if he signed off on Osweiler, he shares in the blame.
This doesn’t even address the confounding timeout and clock management issues that plague O’Brien, and a string of “WTF” decisions made on a week to week basis, often in the last few minutes of the first half.
And then there’s that offense. O’Brien is an offensive-minded coach with an offense that has regressed in an alarming fashion. The play-calling duties changed hands at least a couple of times during the 2016 season, and of course George Godsey was ultimately fired but landed on his feet............................ coaching defense.
I also feel like O’Brien isn’t always great at putting his players in the best position to succeed according to their strengths, most notably with Lamar Miller’s lack of carries to the edge. Of course I give O’Brien a bit of a break there because it’s not like the offensive line was an elite unit capable of putting up big numbers moving in any direction.
It may sound like I’m killing Bill O’Brien here, and I guess I kind of am - but again, I do think he is in the top half of NFL coaches. Many coaches have similar issues to those discussed above - I just think putting O’Brien among the top ten coaches in the NFL right now is a stretch.
What are your thoughts? Wild guess - they are much different than mine. Feel free to use the comments section to fisk at your leisure.