Kirby Lee/USA Today

Bill O'Brien Likes the Continuity His Coaching Staff Brings

With three big changes to his coaching staff over the offseason, Bill O'Brien likes the composition of his coaching staff for 2016.

Bill O’Brien waits for no one, especially if that individual's job is not being accomplished. He is known to pull the plug on players if they do not hold up either on or off the field, and the same holds true for his coaching staff. Changes were made with the staff for the second season in a row and, in this instance, a new special teams coordinator (Larry Izzo), wide receiver coach (Sean Ryan), and defensive line coach (Anthony Weaver) were added to the 2016 staff. 

Izzo came to Houston recommended as a coordinator by several coaches around the league, but what O’Brien likes about his new coordinator is his experience as a player - and Izzo was one of the best.

“He’s very smart. He’s a very hard worker,” said O’Brien of Izzo. “He’s got a very good grasp of special teams. He was a 14-year player and will probably go down as one of the best special teams’ players to ever play in this league.”

The Texans came close to replacing their linebacker coach in Mike Vrabel after he was courted and offered the defensive coordinator position by the San Francisco 49ers. Vrabel declined the offer and returned to the Texans. There are whispers that Vrabel will be in line to take over the defensive coordinator position sooner rather than later. 

“Other people probably look at our staff and they look at these coaches and sometimes they want them on their staff,” explained O’Brien. “But we do the best we can to keep our staff together. I think continuity with the staff is important.”

Many eyes will be on whether the offensive line can take a step up with potentially three new faces set to start in 2016. That responsibility for that will fall on second-year offensive line coach, Mike Devlin, to get the offensive line on track and playing like they did late in the regular season last year. 

“He’s a really, really good offensive line coach, one of the best I’ve been around,” O’Brien said of Devlin. “That’s saying a lot because I’ve been around some great line coaches. He’s a really good teacher. As far as the work cut out, we all have work.”

The coaching staff has proven to be one of the reasons the Texans have gone 9-7 in back-to-back seasons under O’Brien. They have shown they can coach up their players and that was on display last season, with the way they were able to survive late in the season with multiple changes at quarterback. 

O’Brien heads up a smart staff and the influence of Romeo Crennel makes a big difference with him handling all of the defensive duties and schemes. It is a good combination for the Texans and, in 2016, the expectations are rising once again. 


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