Texans coach Bill O’Brien turned in winning seasons in each of his first two years on the job with a second straight 9-7 record earning an AFC South title in 2015.
The Texans responded to that success by overhauling their offense this offseason. Quarterback Brock Osweiler, running back Lamar Miller and a pair of wide receivers drafted in the first three rounds have joined the club in what’s a clear strategy to improve on what’s been a decent start to O’Brien’s NFL coaching career.
“We understand that 9-7 is not the bar,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “We feel like we’ve made some really good strides here in the past two years with our football team. We’ve overcome some adversity. We have a mentally tough team. We’ve got a bunch of great guys in that locker room but we know that the 9-7 bar is too low. We understand that. I think everybody in this league understands that. We’re very well aware of the fact that we need to go out there and play more consistent, play better than we have in the past. But that is in the past. This is a new team and I really like the way this team is practicing. We’ll go from there.”
Of all those moves, the Osweiler one is likely to determine if 9-7 moves from the bar to the floor for the Texans and, by extension, how O’Brien’s tenure in Houston is going to play out. The coach has shown he can win with barely competent quarterback play, but that’s a hard game to play year in and year out without seeing diminishing results. If Osweiler can raise that bar, O’Brien’s hope of raising the team’s has a better chance of being realized.