There's speculation that the Houston Texans may part ways with head coach Bill O'Brien once his team's eliminated from the playoffs. This, despite the fact the former Patriots offensive coordinator has gotten Houston to the playoffs in consecutive seasons, shows how mucked up things have gotten with the Texans, a team with real talent that's been held hostage by an inability to get any semblance of predictable quarterback play under O'Brien.
Last season, the Texans got to the playoffs with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and lost 30-0 to Kansas City as Hoyer threw four interceptions. But that playoff appearance, like this one, is a bit of an apparition. The Texans started 2-5 in 2015 and had a revolving door at quarterback with Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden all cycling through at different points. A crappy division and a talented defense helped the Texans get to 9-7 but there were ignominious losses mixed in, especially the season-ender.
Last offseason, the Texans signed Brock Osweiler to a $72 million contract after GM Rick Smith and O'Brien told owner Bob McNair that Osweiler was the guy to lead them to the next level.
He hasn't been. In fact, he's far worse than Hoyer ever was because Osweiler doesn't value the football like Hoyer did as Osweiler's 16 picks this season showed (alongside just 15 TDs).
Osweiler has yo-yo'd in and out of the lineup since O'Brien decided he'd seen enough last month.
Despite the end of the road possibly looming in Houston, O'Brien won't have the stink of a failed head coach on him. The Texans didn't bottom out and - while the results aren't there - O'Brien's bedside manner and affability will put him near the top of any list of potential head coaching lists.
Which means that both Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia -- who are interviewing on Saturday for openings (McDaniels with the Rams, Niners and Jags; Patricia with the Rams and Chargers) -- could have competition in the mix that will make teams drag their feet to see what O'Brien's going to do.
It would be interesting to see who's enticed by which of the three and why. O'Brien, thanks to his time in Houston and his tremendous work at Penn State, showed he's a program builder. McDaniels' results as a Patriots offensive coordinator are better than O'Brien's were (admittedly, every year wasn't apples-to-apples). McDaniels pissed off everyone in Denver, it seemed. Patricia hasn't pissed off anyone yet, but his media rapport and communication skills are going to need work while his ability to command an entire franchise is a complete unknown. Players love him. It's different, though, when having to be in charge of all of them and make the hard personnel and playing time calls and oversee three facets and a team of coaches.
If O'Brien's in the mix, both McDaniels and Patricia will feel his presence.