HOUSTON — Houston Texans coach Invoice O’Brien was clear about one factor in his end-of-season information convention: Whoever replaces Rick Smith as common supervisor wanted to be “aligned philosophically on what sort of workforce” he and proprietor Bob McNair are attempting to construct.
With a five-year contract extension for himself and a brand new common supervisor in Brian Gaine, O’Brien now has the items in place to get Houston to take a step additional than three 9-7 seasons: a quarterback in Deshaun Watson, a common supervisor who presumably shares his imaginative and prescient for the long run and, now, job safety. Whereas there are nonetheless holes on the workforce, O’Brien has the instruments round him that he thinks he must succeed. And the workforce’s possession is banking on that.
There have been many studies of pressure between O’Brien and Smith, and whereas each downplayed the toxicity of their relationship, the 2 had their share of disagreements over the previous three seasons.
O’Brien was part of a search workforce for Houston’s subsequent common supervisor, together with McNair, vice chairman Cal McNair and workforce president Jamey Rootes. Head coaches don’t usually get an enormous say within the course of for common supervisor, so the McNairs clearly worth O’Brien’s opinion and noticed him as part of the workforce’s future.
By hiring Gaine, the Texans added a person conversant in the group and O’Brien. In his end-of-the-season information convention, O’Brien stated he holds Gaine “in excessive regard.” Gaine spent three seasons in Houston after he was employed by Smith in 2014 earlier than leaving to develop into the Buffalo Payments’ vp of participant personnel in Could 2017.
O’Brien led the Texans to 9-7 data in every of his first three seasons, together with division titles in 2015 and 2016, earlier than the workforce fell to Four-12 in 2017. O’Brien and the Texans had that success from 2014-16 regardless of not having a real franchise quarterback.
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Regardless of the actual fact O’Brien is coming off a disappointing season in 2017, McNair signed him to an extension partially due to success he and Watson had within the seven video games earlier than the rookie tore the ACL in his proper leg. Watson was having a historic season and was on tempo to shatter the file for many passing touchdowns by a quarterback in his first season. On the time of his damage, Watson was tied with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz with 19 passing touchdowns.
If O’Brien and the Texans had not proven enchancment within the passing sport, he may not have been given the prospect to stay round in Houston. However he acquired his quarterback, lastly, and confirmed what his offense is able to with a very good one.
The Texans are constructed to win now however have holes, and now Gaine, with enter from O’Brien and McNair, is tasked with discovering how you can tackle these wants this offseason. Proper now, the Texans should not have a first- or second-round choose, so the workforce probably will give attention to free company to enhance for 2018. The Texans have loads of cap area out there, to allow them to be aggressive in free company, in contrast to final offseason.
Gaine’s first problem: use that cap area effectively. Together with filling holes on the offensive line and within the secondary, the Texans probably should discover a approach to pay defensive finish Jadeveon Clowney, who will likely be coming into the ultimate 12 months of his rookie contract. Gaine might want to steadiness Clowney’s contract with J.J. Watt’s whereas nonetheless addressing these holes on either side of the ball.
The Texans went 9-7 for 3 years and not using a quarterback and took a step again when their franchise quarterback acquired damage halfway by the season. The workforce is shut, nevertheless it’s as much as Gaine and O’Brien to repay the McNairs’ religion in them and put the ending touches on a workforce that, when wholesome, may be among the many greatest within the AFC.