It's clear that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady doesn't agree with the Houston Texans' decision to fire head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien on Monday after an 0-4 start to the 2020 NFL season.
O'Brien worked with Brady for several seasons as a member of the New England Patriots coaching staff. He joined the Patriots in 2007 and eventually became offensive coordinator for the 2011 season before departing to become head coach at Penn State in 2012. O'Brien also was the quarterbacks coach for a short time in New England.
“That was really tough to see,” Brady admitted. “I’ve known Billy for a long time. I think he's a hell of a coach. I think he does a great job. He has great leadership ability, and it’s a very difficult part of the profession. I’ve thought he’s done a great job in Houston over the years. Those guys really seemed to love playing for him.
“It is always tough when you see that happen, especially four games into the year. Four weeks ago everyone was so hopeful about what the season could become. You hate to see things transpire as they do. To lose a coach four games into the season doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
O'Brien was in the midst of his seventh season leading the Texans when he was fired. Houston has won four of the last five AFC South division titles, all under O'Brien, but the team's postseason record over that span is a disappointing 2-4. The Texans also never advanced past the AFC Divisional Round with O'Brien.
It wasn't just an 0-4 start that was hurting the Texans. A series of questionable roster moves, including the trade that sent elite wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in March for an underwhelming return, also didn't inspire much confidence in O'Brien's ability to lead the franchise to a title.
Brady coming to O'Brien's defense isn't surprising at all. They worked together for several seasons in New England and clearly have plenty of respect for each other. But when you look at the totality of O'Brien's career in Houston, it was time for a change in direction.