Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien on Monday. The decision to part ways with O’Brien came one day after the team’s 4th consecutive loss. The Texans remain winless this season and after a disappointing 31-23 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at home on Sunday, it was clear something had to change.
Prior to O’Brien’s firing there were signs of frustration as players made the media rounds. Defensive end J.J. Watt was clear post game that he is ready for changing up the way things get done for a better outcome. A winning outcome.
“We are 0 and 4. Whatever we’re doing is not working. Something needs to change, something needs to be different,” Watt explained. “But the only thing that I know I can do is work harder, control what I can control.”
During his seven-season tenure with the Texans, O’Brien coached the team to 52 wins and Four AFC South Division Titles. In the end the division titles were simply not enough. Truth be told all divisions in football are not created equal and not all wins carry the same weight. While the final straw for the McNair family may have been the poor start to the 2020 season, O’Brien had been making head scratching moves on and off the field for quite some time. From O’Brien’s start in 2014 to present day Texans fans have watched players with immense talent such as Kareem Jackson, A.J. Bouye, Duane Brown, Jadeveon Clowney, and Tyrann Mathieu all slip through the proverbial fingers of the franchise before realizing their full potential with the team. While it’s likely more people than just O’Brien were involved in these controversial decisions, some of the decisions were solely his. Remember when O’Brien made the decision to start Tom Savage over Deshaun Watson? Also, to this day the most perplexing move of all was when O’Brien traded DeAndre Hopkins and in turn received no draft capital. He traded Hopkins who leads the league in catches and is easily one of the best wide receivers and a future Hall of Famer for…not DeAndre Hopkins. As coach and general manager, it appears O’Brien spent more time dismantling the team than building it. With that, Romeo Crennel, who has forty plus years of experience including head coaching gigs with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns, will take over as Interim Head Coach for the rest of the season.
McNair confirmed the firing in a statement saying, “On behalf of my family and our entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Bill O’Brien and his family for their impact on our franchise. Bill’s leadership moved our organization forward as he guided us to four AFC South division championships, 52 wins and multiple playoff appearances during his tenure. Bill proved himself as a coach and leader in this league. I spoke with him earlier today and told him we are moving in a different direction. Romeo Crennel will serve as our interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020 season. We have a talented team and I have no doubt our players and staff will rally to make Texans fans proud as we aim to win championships and do great things for the city of Houston.”
O’Brien spoke with members of the media following the announcement saying, “In the end, in this business it’s a bottom-line business and we weren’t able to get it to where we needed to get it. I obviously have tremendous respect for their family and again, I thank them for the opportunity that they gave me. I understand we fell short in terms of taking this team further in the playoffs, but I do leave knowing that myself and this staff gave everything this organization deserved and more. We worked very, very hard to try to get this to a place where it could be a championship program. We just didn’t get it done. I will leave here with very fond memories of the Houston Texans organization.”
He went on to say, “I talked to the players briefly this afternoon and just thanked them. I told them I love them. I think these players are just awesome guys. They practiced hard. They tried to do everything we asked them to do. It was a pleasure coaching them and I’m going to miss seeing them every day. Just really – the guys that have been with me for seven years to the guys that were only here for a year. Every one of them are just tremendous guys. I’m just sorry we couldn’t get it done this year early on here. But I wish them the best.”
The Texans will be back in action on Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.