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BRB GroupThink: Do You Think Bill O’Brien Is On The Hot Seat?

Will Houston hunt for a new head coach soon?

NFL: Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With the offseason in full swing, speculation runs rampant as people scrounge for “news”, op/ed, or anything else to create football related content for those of us starving for NFL info.

Over at Bleacher Report, one such piece detailed their opinions of which head coaches were sitting in the hot seat and needed to elevate their games in order to keep their jobs in 2019.

Many won’t be surprised that Houston’s own Bill O’Brien is on the list.

O’Brien is a mere 42-38 with just one playoff win in five seasons in Houston, and he’s running out of excuses. Unlike in 2014, 2015 and 2016, he’s got an excellent quarterback to work with. And unlike in 2017, his team wasn’t ravaged by injuries in 2018. But it still essentially no-showed in a home playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

That probably can’t happen again. It’s time for the Texans to make a run in the wide-open AFC or find a new head coach to work with Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and that talented young defense.

So we tossed this idea out to the masthead—is O’Brien really on the hot seat?. Here’re the answers we got back:

Capt. Ron

I think O’Brien is actually a good football leader and head coach. I agree with how the article points out the fact that the “bag of excuses” is now clearly exhausted. The issue isn’t with the roster talent available to him.

The consistent issue for O’Brien is his inability to design and execute a more effective offensive game plan—even casual observers of football can often determine what type of play is about to be called in a given situation—and his terrible in-game management of the clock, challenges, and other strategies needed to ensure victory rather than winning by chance when the other team makes a mistake.


Bill O’Brien is probably a below average coach, but he has been able to win enough games with a talented roster to be classified as average. He wasted J.J. Watt’s prime and an incredible defense because of his incessant desire to win without investing into the quarterback position, by picking a bunch of terrible, horrendous, quarterbacks who ranged from tall and white and strong to “intelligent” and white.

Now, with Deshaun Watson, it’s been frustrating. Houston’s great defense is lost. This team lives off the fumes of pass rush Watt and Jadeveon Clowney generate and a great run stopping front seven. The offense always feels like it’s limited by inside runs, checkdowns on third and seven, and nauseating throws out to the flat.

Yet there’s some hope here. The offense was great with Watson in 2017. The offense got super conservative in 2018 with Watson hurt, but O’Brien never let it break back open to practice scoring the points required to compete with the Colts and whoever else they could have faced in the AFC portion of the NFL Playoffs.

Every season feels like a do-or-die season for O’Brien, but it never is. He just goes 9-7 or so, the Texans always feel like they should be better (which they should), and O’Brien comes back for another season. Unless a dramatic 6-10 happens, I don’t see anything changing regardless of what Mr. Bleacher Report boldly claims.


I have yet to see any logical reason as to why BOB is considered an even average NFL HC. He is terrible at every in-game aspect and he has only won on the back of great defenses.

This year, when he is once again trying to pigeonhole Deshaun Watson into being a pocket-only QB, and the offense is putting up 18 points a game, nobody’s mind will change. And then it will be 2020, and it will be the same old scheisse. Marvin O’Brain will never, ever be fired unless we go 0-23. I mean, if 4-12 didn’t do it and starting Tom Savage over Watson didn’t do it, nothing will.

Mike Bullock:

I really like Bill O’Brien, I really do. He’s a great motivator, he’s passionate, he loves his players and the fans, and is just the kind of guy that makes for great stories if he were to ever hoist a Lombardi Trophy.

I think if he would hand the reigns of the offense over to a talented, forward-thinking offensive coordinator, this team would have already gone farther than it has in recent years - even to the point of hoisting said trophy.

Coaches with far less talent have gone deeper into the playoffs. It’s all about what the coach can get out of the hand he’s been dealt. Unfortunately, historically, all O’Brien can get out of his hand, whether it’s with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage, [NAME REDACTED] or DeShaun Watson under center, is an average 9-7 season.

O’Brien inherited one of the best defenses in the NFL from Gary Kubiak and handed it over to a generational defensive mind in Romeo Crennel. While the offense O’Brien took over wasn’t at the same level, his insistence on running it himself hasn’t produced the desired results.

In the span of O’Brien’s career as the head coach of the Houston Texans, the offense has average 21.2 points per game. In that same time span, the New England Patriots have averaged 28.8 points per game - just over a touchdown more.

Houston’s defense over the last five seasons has coughed up an average 21.5 points per game. The Patriots averaged giving up 19.1 points per game in the same time frame.

If Houston wants to get past the top dog in the AFC, they need to put more points on the board, and Bill O’Brien has the players to do it, but does he have the scheme? From what we’ve seen so far, the answer is no. And while the McNairs are probably content to give him more time to figure that out, how much longer the fan base will stand for it remains to be seen.

Rivers McCown:

No, I do not.

There you have it, folks. What do you think? Is Bill O’Brien wrapped in a security blanket or burning up from the tail up?