The Houston Texans offense has continued to trend downward since the arrival of Bill O’Brien in 2014. O’Brien was an intriguing choice for the Texans at the time for the work he did with the New England Patriots as an offensive coordinator, as well as his work as the head football coach at Penn State. However, that offensive prowess has been anything but impressive during his tenure with the Texans, especially after 2016 when the Texans set record lows offensively under O’Brien.
O'Brien's hand picked offensive coordinator, George Godsey, and the Texans parted way shortly after the conclusion of last season. The team and O'Brien opted to put the offense on the head coach's own shoulders in an effort to regain a pulse.
At rookie mini-camp, O’Brien has taken a hands-on approach on the field, completely different from the first three years of his tenure. In the beginning and through the 2016 season, O’Brien wanted his coaches to handle their sides of the football. Offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators were set up to be in charge of their units, with O’Brien sitting back and steering the ship. Now, with no coach filling the offensive coordinator spot, O’Brien is stepping up to the plate to tighten up the offensive unit.
“I’ve been probably doing more coaching myself in the last four or five weeks than I’ve done in the three years that I’ve been here,” O’Brien said of coaching the offense during rookie mini-camp. “I’m really involved with the offense and I’m having a lot of fun.”
O’Brien’s influence with the offense is clear and in the games that he called to start his tenure with the Texans and during this past season in a home game against Tennessee, the results were clear. The pace and production of the offense was swifter and tighter - creating a demonstrable need to put O’Brien back in the driver's seat with the unit.
“I’m very involved and I will be very involved,” O’Brien said of his influence on the offense in 2017. ”What I mean by that is, being a guy that has taken a lot of pride in – and I’ve told you guys this – we have to get better offensively.”
Deshaun Watson on O'Brien
Even during the start of OTAs, O’Brien and the coaches have been allowed to do walk throughs with players on the field and they have been working the kinks out of the offense. O’Brien also acknowledged that getting his players on the field has helped the retention of the offense in terms of assignments and plays, and has also allowed them to correct some mistakes from last year.
“I think you have to get out on the field, jog through it, walk through it, talk about it, look at it, see somebody else do it,” O’Brien explained. “You have to be visual with a lot of these guys and I think that’s a big way and that’s something I’ve learned over the last four or five weeks that’s really helped us.”
O’Brien will try and continue to build the offense with Sean Ryan coaching the quarterbacks now and John Perry moving to wide receivers, with Wes Welker working with the group as well. The staff was in full swing to open up rookie mini-camp and is was clear that O’Brien was in his element.
O'Brien noted, “We’re all working hard together. We have a great staff. We’re working hard together. We’re in there together coaching. Staff meetings together. Really spending a lot of time trying to figure out what we can do to be better.
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