O'Brien talks QB race in Houston; DeHaven fears the demise of special teams coaching



(DeHaven photo courtesy of Buffalo Bills)

(O'Brien photo courtesy of Houston Texans)


Texans' head coach Bill O'Brien this week continued the Talk of Fame Network's off-season visits with NFL head coaches by putting down his umbrella in flood-ravaged Houston long enough to discuss the blooming quarterback competition going on between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, as well as speculate on his own chances of becoming a "Hard Knocks'' celebrity on HBO's annual NFL reality show this summer.

"I hope to pick a guy by the end of spring or early in camp,'' O'Brien said of the competition between the two former Tom Brady backups. "We're not going to let it go too long.''

The former Patriots' offensive coordinator tells Talk of Fame listeners about one way his quarterbacks keep his legendary temper in check. Learn how their deft use of a teapot sometimes keeps the lid on in Houston.

O'Brien also revealed how his young son Jack's battle with lissencephaly, a neurological problem at birth that has left him severely handicapped but unbowed and unbroken, keeps football in perspective -- even for a coach as hyper-focused and sometimes short fused as O'Brien.

Carolina Panthers' special teams coach Bruce DeHaven also visits the show to discuss the possible unintended consequences of the NFL's recent decision to push the extra-point try back to the 15-yard line and the real threat that the game may soon make the kick return, and special teams coaches, all but obsolete.

"We're closing in on a time where there's not a whole lot of coaching on kick returns,'' said DeHaven. "There's fewer and fewer parts of the (special teams) game where you need someone to coach it.''

Rick Gosselin, our resident stats man, turns his Dr. Data segment toward why the kicking game is under attack by NFL rules makers as well, pointing out, among other factoids, that last year kickers converted 91.6% of their unblocked attempts inside 50 yards. "If every play in the NFL was as good at his position as the league's placekickers are,'' Gosselin says, "the game wouldn't be much fun to watch.''

Goose also states the Hall-of-Fame case for a victim of his own team's lineup of Hall-of-Famers, Steelers' strong safety Donnie Shell; and in our weekly "Borges or Bogus" segment, Ron Borges takes on new Denver Broncos' head coach Gary Kubiak's notion that the league will soon be searching for "two-point specialists.'' Host Clark Judge keeps not only the ball rolling but also keeps up his feverish defense of Tom Brady in the seemingly never-ending ''Deflategate'' controversy.

Hear all that, as well as the weekly two-minute drill and a Hall-of-Fame outlook on the week's NFL news, Wednesday night and Sunday on Yahoo! Sports radio network stations. You can also hear this ... or any podcast ... by going to talkoffamenetwork.com or listening on iTunes.


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