After a disappointing 0-4 start to the 2020 NFL season, the Houston Texans have fired general manager and head coach Bill O’Brien. Associate head coach and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will fill in as the Interim head coach.
“On behalf of my family and our entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Bill O’Brien and his family for their impact on our franchise,” said Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair in a statement. “Bill’s leadership moved our organization forward as he guided us to four AFC South division championships, 52 wins and multiple playoff appearances during his tenure.”
Despite the accomplishments said above, O’Brien’s tenure was filled with criticism and constant callings for his job. The Texans have been mediocre for most of his six+ years as their coach as they won a weak AFC South with a 9-7 record twice and went 9-7 in 2014. Even with franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson for the last two postseasons, the Texans only won two playoff games with one coming against the Oakland Raiders, who played their third-string QB.
Despite beating the Buffalo Bills 22-19 in overtime in the wild card round, the criticisms for O’Brien began to reach their climax. First, the Texans blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional playoff round against the Kansas City Chiefs…. in one quarter as they trailed 28-24 at halftime on the way to losing 51-31. After the game, O’Brien was promoted to general manager, where he made his biggest blunder yet.
He decided to trade All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for a second-round pick and injury-prone running back David Johnson. Nearly everyone blasted this trade as the return for Hopkins was nowhere near his value.
So far this season, the trade has worked out poorly for the team. They sit at 0-4, Watson has not gotten into a rhythm with his new receiving corps, which lacks size and the ability to win jump balls, and the rushing attack has been inept, ranking last in the NFL in rushing offense per game.
“In the end, in this business, it’s a bottom-line business,” said O’Brien. “We weren’t able to get it to where we needed to get it. … I understand we fell short in terms of taking this team further in the playoffs. But I do leave knowing that myself and this staff gave everything this organization deserved and more. We worked very, very hard to try to get this to a place where it could be a championship program. We just didn’t get it done.”
For the Texans, the solution to building a legit contender is simple. They need to hire Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and clean up O’Brien’s mess. Hopkins should still be in Houston and Johnson should not be the starting running back. Bieniemy could work well with Watson and build up his stardom like he has done with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.
Building up Watson and restructuring the roster could vault the Texans to the top of the AFC playoff picture. The solution is simple Houston, hire Bieniemy.