O’Brien has the right pedigree, a former assistant under New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and a head coach at Penn State for the last two seasons. It’s exactly what Texans owner Bob McNair said he was looking for after firing Gary Kubiak last month. MK Bauer is a sports columnist for Culture Map and says O’Brien is much different than Kubiak or the Texans first head coach, Dom Capers.
“When I first heard his name, it struck me as interesting. I was kind of happy that the Texans were going in a different direction in terms of leadership on the field, because I think they need something. They’ve tried one way for a while. They’ve had a modest amount of success and really years of being in the doldrums and to an extent, Bill O’Brien represents something new, something different, a fresh perspective they need to embrace.”
A few years ago, TV cameras caught O’Brien and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a heated sideline argument you probably wouldn’t have seen with Kubiak or Capers. Bauer says that fiery streak might be a good thing.
“Maybe these players have grown accustomed to having the sort of relationship with Gary Kubiak that is very jovial and friendly and affable. Maybe they need a guy who’s a little bit fiery, who’s prickly, who will challenge them on some level because the previous couch didn’t challenge them. Maybe that will get the best out of those guys. All these things are conjecture to an extent, but at least they’re willing to understand that we can approach it differently and see if this works, and I think they should be applauded for that.”
The Texans have the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft and will likely be looking for a quarterback.