As Bill O’Brien approaches his fourth season as head coach of your Houston Texans, there appear to be two dominant schools of thought when it comes to O’Brien’s performance.
The first such school is that the man has presided over three straight winning seasons, brought home two division titles, and won a playoff game, all without a quarterback that resembles a stable, long-term solution.
The other camp focuses on the idea that O’Brien, a man who was trumpeted as a great offensive mind when he was hired, has fielded offense after offense after offense that is inconsistent at best and repeatedly putrid at worst. Those naysayers lament the fact that O’Brien, alleged offensive guru that he is, hasn’t figured out a way to take better advantage of a remarkable defense, ultimately resulting in the franchise hitting a ceiling that it would, theoretically, be able to break through with a league-average offense.
That’s why it’s not particularly surprising when a representative of the first camp opines that Bill O’Brien is the seventh-best head coach in the NFL. Likewise, it’s not totally unexpected when someone who subscribes to the newsletter of Camp B ranks O’Brien at...wait for it...No. 18 among his NFL head coaching peers, as Elliot Harrison just did in this piece. A year after declaring that O’Brien was the 16th best head coach in the league, Harrison now writes this about O’Brien:
18) Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans
The Texans are still unsettled at quarterback, yet O'Brien keeps getting them to 9-7. That's the sign of a coach who knows what he's doing. So why not place him higher? Given that his background is on offense, it seems that developing a quarterback should be within his reach, but no less than Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and Brock Osweiler have flamed out in Houston. Still, making the postseason in 2016 without J.J. Watt is a significant achievement.
Again, the logic isn’t novel. Nevertheless, seeing some of the names ranked ahead of O’Brien (Chuck Pagano?) is puzzling. Chime in with your thoughts in the space below.