Gone are the days of Houston Texans' head coach Bill O'Brien wandering the sidelines calling the plays. After botching many a call during his tenure in Houston, O'Brien has finally ceded the play calling duties to Tim Kelly.
Kelly spent three years as offensive quality control coach for O'Brien and the Houston Texans. He assisted Mike Devlin with the offensive line in 2016, and served as the tight ends coach in 2017 and 2018.
On February 5, 2019, Kelly was named as the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans
What is it like to be able to now call plays, and what do you envision for the offense this year with the personnel you have?
"I think any time you take the field with multiple weapons, multiple guys who can hurt a defense at a variety of different levels not just necessarily deep, short or intermediate but be able to threaten every aspect of the field is a good thing. So as far as being able to attack the defenses and really as each opponent presents its own issue, being able to take advantage of different matchups throughout the entire field and not necessarily one player, it's an encouraging thing. Again, we've got a great quarterback, a guy who's going to be able to distribute the ball and again get the ball to the guys that are winning, and we've got guys who have won consistently for a long time scattered throughout that room. You look at Brandin (Cooks), you look at Randall (Cobb), you look at Will (Fuller V) and Kenny (Stills) obviously with the production they had last year, Keke (Coutee) and DeAndre Carter, Steven Mitchell (Jr.) made some big plays. Obviously those are guys that have produced and that are coming in with a great mindset and with a chip on their shoulder and are working hard every day to make sure they're on the same page with the coaching staff and making sure they're on the same page with Deshaun."
How is the transition going with you being in the quarterback room and calling plays, and do you think the personnel is being better adjusted to QB Deshaun Watson's skillset this season with the new additions?
"I think as for the adjustment to being in the quarterback room, I spent a lot of time in that room last year working closely with Deshaun and AJ (McCarron) and Alex (McGough) and Coach Carl Smith. So there's not really too much of an adjustment going on with that, and yeah, I think Deshaun's obviously excited to get to work with these guys and we'll see what they can do once they can all get together."
What was it about last season that helped prepare you to be able to call plays in 2020?
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"I think anytime you're doing something for the first time there's going to some form of a learning process. So last year being in the offensive coordinator position for the first time, it was the first time I had done so, so I was learning something from OB (Bill O'Brien) every week, every game, every day we were in there. So being able to take those lessons and make sure that we're able to improve in certain areas as we move forward here was a good thing."
Do you think your current receivers can play on both the inside and the outside, and what is the level of excitement that you've gotten from QB Deshaun Watson on working with this new offense?
"I think Deshaun's excited. I don't want to speak for him, but with the communication that we've had these however many days throughout this virtual offseason, he's come in with a great mindset, coming in, trying to get better at some areas and really take grasp of the offense. He's doing a great job as far as that's concerned. Then, yeah, obviously there's versatility that goes along with playing that wide receiver position, being able to play inside and outside and do some different things and have a diversified route tree. It's all things that are going to help us basically take the next step here as an offense."
In what areas do you want to see QB Deshaun Watson improve and does your relationship have to develop more now that you are calling plays?
"I think you always — if you're calling plays or you're a part of the play calling process, you want to make sure that you're seeing the game through same set of eyes as the quarterback, that you're all on the same page, that you all have the same vision of the play when the play gets called. That's something whereas we continue to grow, that's going to be important. And yeah, there's things that Deshaun needs to get better at, as all of us need to improve on. We've talked about that with him, coming out and being consistent and playing at that — he's set the bar so high, so it's really a challenge for him to be able to play at that level every time he steps on the field."