Like many of you that didn't bleach it away, I recall the Houston Texans’ 2013 season. During a 2-14 season that saw Gary Kubiak’s health reach scary depths, Wade Phillips take over with the mandate that Case Keenum is The Answer (which, unless the question is ‘Which starting QB scrambles to cause sacks?’ I dispute that), and ultimately resulted in the hiring of a fairly unproven head coach at Penn State in the form of Bill O’Brien.
When OB came to Houston, groupthink swore up and down that he was going to solve all of our problems, because he’d had the temerity to shout at Tom Brady and the fortitude to take on the steaming hot mess that was post-Joe Pa Penn State. This despite the fact that there appeared, for those of us who watched him coach in the Big Ten, an amount of growth and development that was still underway.
Since 2014, this offensive-minded head coach has done a good job of coaching a team with a questionable quarterback situation into winning the division twice by taking advantage of the hapless Colts, Titans, and Jaguars. But the aura of invincibility that OB carried around with him (especially when responding to press questions he felt were out of line) has been broken recently, with even Houston’s historically gentle press corps being unafraid to criticize and question the head coach.
In a recent ranking of current NFL head coaches, OB managed to come in 18th, ahead of Doug Marrone (ranked 26), and Mike Mularkey (23), but behind Chuck Pagano (15). NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison explained OB’s comparatively shoddy ranking,:
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.
And we can’t, of course, forget the rumors that swirled this past January that the behind-the-scenes combat between Rick Smith and OB had reached the point where the head coach might be relieved of his duties. So, with all the hoopla surrounding OB and his skillset as a head coach, my question is if you could take one characteristic of a head coach besides yours and place it in your coach's repertoire, what characteristic would your rob from what other coach and why?
I know that some of us are at the point where there’s nothing OB can do correctly, so this is your shot to find some living and active head coaches in the NFL that have something about them that OB lacks or needs to further develop. I’m interested in seeing the responses.