Bill O'Brien's Lack of Words Signaled Change Was Coming for the Texans
Patrick D. Starr
In usual Houston Texans fashion, the dominoes have started to fall after the end of the season. Head coach Bill O'Brien has met with his coaching staff and front office to shift roles inside the organization. The Texans have now made moves to open the door for new purposes and faces for the 2020 season.
Throughout the years as the Texans head coach, O'Brien has become the master of using quotes to speak volumes regarding the organization. With the recent moves of the dismissal of Senior VP of Football Administration Chris Olsen and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel not running the defense in 2020.
The signs were all there for the moves at the end of the season.
After the Texans disappointing loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, asked point-blank about the return of Crennel.
"Yes I do, I do expect him to be back," O'Brien said of Crennel. "I mean, we will talk to all - will meet with all the staff members, you know, one by one and see where we're at."
O'Brien added, "But yeah, I do anticipate him being back."
"Being back" for O'Brien means back with the organization, and not necessarily in the role, he has held the previous two seasons as the defensive coordinator.
Then with Olsen, when asked about the set up of the front office, in his final press conference of the year. O'Brien noted that he had not spoken to owner Cal McNair, and "right now," the setup would stay in place.
O'Brien said the following when asked about the set up with the Texans front office heading into the offseason.
"I would be remiss by answering that question, but I feel like where we are right now, the way that I see it right now, it stays the way it is."
At that point, the Texans split up the general manager duties between current front office members, Director of Player Personnel Matt Bazirgan, Director of College Scouting James Liipefert, Senior Vice President of Football Administration Chris Olsen, and Executive Vice President of Team Development Jack Easterby.
"We have, again, a great group of people that meet daily," O'Brien said of the Texans' front office setup. "That talk about the team, the roster, all the support staff, the subprograms that we have here, and try to make the best decisions for the team."
Doubling down when talking about his group of people, O'Brien depends on he subtly omitted Olsen's name when talking about the decision-makers inside the building. The removal of Olsen was just two offseasons after the Texans opted to give Olsen, the man who has been running the organization's cap situation for the past 13-seasons, a four-year extension to stick with the front office when Brian Gaine was named the general manager.
"There are a lot of people," O'Brien said. "Whether it's the coordinators or Jack Easterby or Matt Bazirgan or whoever, that are involved with decision making. So, it's definitely, it's a consensus. We try to build a consensus."
What O'Brien does not say regarding people inside the building speaks volumes when it is said and done. O'Brien said he expected Crennel back and left out Olsen's name from his discussion about the Texans' front office. Crennel attempted to step to a lesser role after Mike Vrabel took over the defensive coordinator position in 2017, but that plan was scrapped with the exit of Vrabel to Tennessee. Returning to run the defense for the 2018 season after a brief absence at the helm. Crennel's contract has expired, leaving the door open for change heading into 2020.
Now with Anthony Weaver set to take over the defensive coordinator position and two defensive position groups (outside linebacker and defensive line) needing new coaches. The changes continue to shape under O'Brien entering his second season with full control of the vision of the organization.
No matter the direction of the Texans, it continues to be the O'Brien show at NRG Stadium. If paying close enough attention throughout the season, his lack of words speaks to more significant moves coming down the road.
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