Texans fire head coach, GM and offensive play-caller Bill O’Brien originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Bill O’Brien has his fingerprints all over nearly every facet of the Houston Texans’ organization. He was hired as head coach in 2014, assumed GM duties over the offseason and even took over play-calling for the offense Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Now, he’s reportedly out altogether.
The Texans relieved O’Brien of all his responsibilities Monday after the team got off to an 0-4 start to the 2020 season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dan Graziano reported. Assistant head coach Romeo Crennel, who’s held two previous head coaching positions in his career, will take over in an interim capacity.
Houston’s poor start has reflected particularly poorly on O’Brien, who orchestrated a pair of trades that have come back to haunt the team. In March, he shipped All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in a deal that netted them running back David Johnson. Six months prior, he was part of the decision-making group that shipped back-to-back first-round picks, a second-rounder and two players in exchange for a package highlighted by left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills.
The Texans also have the highest payroll in the NFL this season with commitments totaling $248 million, according to Schefter. They inked Tunsil and quarterback Deshaun Watson to lengthy extensions this offseason and traded for receiver Brandin Cooks and his significant deal that he signed with the Los Angeles Rams.
“You never want to celebrate someone losing their job, but at the end of the day this is the best thing that could have happened to and for Deshaun Watson,” ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky said on air after the news broke. “He decided to sign that long-term deal in Houston. He’s a phenomenal player. He was going to be wasted under Bill O’Brien. This is the best thing that could have happened for him.”
While 0-4 is far from a desirable record, their losses have come at the hands of some impressive teams. The Texans have played the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Vikings—the first three of which are a combined 9-1 this season.
However, Watson and the Texans still have their work cut out for them if they want to get back in the race. The Tennessee Titans stand atop the AFC South at 3-0 and the Indianapolis Colts are right behind them at 3-1. Tanking really isn’t an option for them this season, either. Miami owns both their first- and second-round picks in 2021 thanks to the Tunsil/Stills trade.