Report: “Dysfunctional” relationship persists between Bill O’Brien, Rick Smith

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There was some speculation at the end of the 2016 season that the Texans would part ways with head coach Bill O’Brien with his rocky relationship with General Manager Rick Smith cited as the reason why there would be a change after the team won a division title.

O’Brien stayed in Houston, but there’s again speculation about his departure with the Texans suffering through a 4-11 season amid injuries to Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and others. And there’s again talk about how little O’Brien and Smith, who has been in his current position since 2006, get along.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that one source called their relationship “toxic” and “dysfunctional” with another saying they would be “kind of surprised” if there wasn’t a change to release the tension.

O’Brien has one year left on his contract and said that he would go into next season without an extension granting him further security in Houston. If he were to become available through firing or in a trade, he could become a candidate for other jobs once teams make changes after the end of the regular season.

48 responses to “Report: “Dysfunctional” relationship persists between Bill O’Brien, Rick Smith

  1. Obrien does have a reputation, as well as demeanor of being a total jerk and all around a-hole.
    He isnt a good coach so why is he still around?

  2. Winning cures a lot of ills. Unfortunately until Watson Smith hadn’t provided O’Brien a QB worth a damn. If Watson had stayed healthy this wouldn’t be a topic of conversation but Smith is a de facto member of the McNair family so if someone has to go…

  3. O’Brien has the leverage, and he knows it. He’s an average coach, but a lot of what’s happened in Houston is not on him but is really the function of players. That’s the GM’s fault.

    My guess is that Smith goes since problems with him existed prior to O’Brien getting to Houston.

    But if I was the Houston owner, I would not extend O’Brien. And if an option exists to improve both positions, I’d do it.

  4. O’Brien is the real deal. He is a solid coach and I would be thrilled to see him out of Houston.

    -Jags fan

  5. I don’t feel that injuries are the fault of the head coach or the GM. I feel that the Texans are plenty talented and well coached. They have just had a run on bad luck with injuries to the star players.

  6. Whichever one was responsible for signing Osweiler sight unseen should be the one to go.

    O’Brien made it to the playoffs with some of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, so I’d give him another shot with Watson, and a healthy defense, and see what he can do.

  7. Sometimes you have to question the value of having a GM and HC as two different people who don’t see eye to eye. Personally, if I owned a football team I would do like NE and my HC would also be the defacto GM.

  8. Ive said this for a while now. If Josh leaves us and Bill gets fired, he is the new OC. If josh doesnt leave and billy gets fired, i seem him as Assistant Head Coach. Bill does come off like a rude guy, but he is a Bostonian like myself, so i understand. He is also from the Belichick pedigree, so he does not put up with BS. His situation is sad because he has a GM who is connected to the Owner and can do no wrong.

  9. O’Brien has done a fine job given the crap QBs (other than Watson) he’s had to deal with. And the injuries.

    Now that he has Watson he and the team will do fine.

    The team should eject Rick Smith. He’s the problem.

  10. Iknowitall says:
    December 29, 2017 at 2:43 pm
    Obrien does have a reputation, as well as demeanor of being a total jerk and all around a-hole.
    He isnt a good coach so why is he still around?

    16 42 Rate This

    —————–

    Why is Rick Smith still around? He once paid Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, both at age 30, the highest WR and RB contracts in the league at the same time.

    For that alone, he should have been fired.’

    Maybe moron PC freak, Bob McNair, believes too much in the old Rooney Rule, too?

  11. O’Brien maybe a bad coach.. who knows with the players that Rick Smith supplies.. Smith got Kubiak fired in 2013. Said he was misusing his players Ben Jones was cited as having been drafted to be the center and Kubiak was playing him at guard and Myers at center. Kubiak got fired Jones went to center Myers left and then after a year at center Smith let Jones walk as a free agent to Tennessee…… go figure

  12. nflknowitall says:
    December 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm
    O’Brien has done a fine job given the crap QBs (other than Watson) he’s had to deal with. And the injuries.

    Now that he has Watson he and the team will do fine.

    The team should eject Rick Smith. He’s the problem.

    1 0 Rate This

    ——————-

    Seems obvious. My fear is that they will back up the Brinks truck for Caserio.

  13. I keep hearing about supposed dysfunction. However, I never hear any details about the reported dysfunction. What makes this something other than rank speculation?

  14. If O’Brien gets fired, and does not land another Head Coaching gig immediately, there will probably be an Offensive Coordinator opening with the Pats in the off-season.

    I do expect McDaniels to get another Head Coaching job if he wants; although I also think O’Brien would be able to get one given there will be many firings this off-season.

  15. Judging O Brian is really hard.

    He seems like hes hes doing a bad job and then you step back and think about his QB situation since hes been there.

  16. Fire Billy O and he gets a job tomorrow, Smith is the one that should have been fired years ago he’s been GM for 10 years and still haven’t produced only GM with that record and still has a job is Jerry Jones.

  17. O’Brien is far from perfect as a coach, and his game management often has me shaking my head. That said, he’s been more or less a .500 coach with some of the worst QB rooms in the league outside of the Browns and deserves plenty of credit for fielding a generally competitive team given the level of suck he has dealt with at the position outside of Watson.

    I’m way more inclined to blame Rick Smith for Houston’s disastrous 2017 season. The Texans roster has a handful of excellent players, but shallower depth than a kiddie pool.

    It’s not BOB’s fault that Houston’s success is entirely tied to the health of five players – Watson, Hopkins, Watt, Mercilus, and Clowney.

    It’s not BOB’s fault that he has to rely almost extensively on UDFAs and street free agents in featured roles when starters are injured.

    It’s not BOB’s fault that his Smith doesn’t understand the importance of the OL or refused to draft a franchise-caliber QB until this year.

    You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that Rick Smith is the individual holding the Texans franchise back. Does Bob McNair, though?

    The answer to that question will determine the future of the Texans.

  18. pastabelly says:
    December 29, 2017 at 3:06 pm
    Smith deserves Jeff Fisher.

    Jeff fisher is a much better coach than obrian. Fisher at least had the smarts to run the ball when he outmatched a team. Obrian is one of the worst coaches ive ever seen because he’s had stout defenses and functional running games but instead hes made Osweiller Savage Keenum and Yates throw the ball 30+ times and blow the game.
    Houston is an all around mediocre franchise but you just cant win with someone as garbage as Obrian. I know plenty of houston fans and its consensus that obrian is terrible.

  19. O’Brien will be umemployed about 5 mins. Failed? Took a lot of guts to take that Penn St job and turn that program around.

  20. Come on Houston please let Bill go, then we can hope that Gettleman hires him…Bill took a shattered Penn State team and gave them back pride. He then goes to Houston who gives him crap QB’s and you expect miracles..

  21. Gawd, I hope O’Brien stays and Rick Smith takes a hike. He has basically willed those teams to winning seasons with crap at QB. As soon as Watson hit the field you got a glimpse of what kind of numbers his offense could put up. Good HC’s are hard to find. GM’s…..not so much…

  22. Obrien should go. Obviously, the owner likes smith or smith would not have been around for ten years. Obrien can be replaced. In addition, if Obrien does not have a good relationship with smith, then Obrien has not learned the importance of the chain of command.

  23. whodatalien says:
    December 29, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Jeff fisher is a much better coach than obrian.
    ———————-

    Come on, man. When you lead with that, it nullifies everything else you have to say. That, and your constant misspelling of O’Brien.

  24. Houston’s season collapsed because QB Matt Schaub suddenly went from a good QB to a bad one. Houston got to pick first overall, and they can turn their team around with a good QB. So, who did Houston pick? Jadaveon Clowney, not a QB, but a pass rushing LB/DE. Whose fault was it that they failed to right the ship? I have no idea. Something is dysfunctional inside the organization, but I am not sure who is responsible.

  25. Coming from a completely unbiased to this team person, Obrien is the real deal, Texans have alot of talent but he is just in need of a QB. Everyone saw what he could do with an average Joe like Watson, he just needs someone whose more accurate and with some size whose going to last a full season. This team has alot of talent at WR and RB. This year would of been a good year to get a QB esp with the #4 overall pick, too bad they traded it to the Cleveland browns in the trade for Watson. If Obrien does leave he will be HC elsewhere

  26. Rick Smith is The Godfather. Literally, he’s the Godfather to the McNair grandkids. That’s how Rick Smith has survived as a sub-par GM for 10 years.

    Time to promote Rick Smith out of personnel decisions – make him President/VP of something, anything. Bring in Caserio as GM (word last year was OB wanted Caserio last January), extend Bill O’Brien, and demand O’Brien bring in an Offensive Coordinator (don’t know who, just someone who can run OB’s playbook he was using with Watson).

  27. Doesn’t matter if this clown O’Brien is there or not … Jags gonna own the Afc South from here on out … So get use to it Houston … Coughlin and Marrone are gonna be too strong running the Show in Jax Town for H-Town to compete … Go Jags !!!

  28. If Watson doesn’t go down, this team wins the division. But how coaches adjust to injuries is also a big part of it. Look at Belichick winning the SB in 2003 despite starting a record 42 different players throughout the year. Then again, BB selects his backups. He got rid of Bledsoe and Bishop to make room for Brady. OBrien has Tom Savage and TJ Yates. Yikes.

  29. dee1006 says:
    December 29, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Rick Smith is The Godfather. Literally, he’s the Godfather to the McNair grandkids. That’s how Rick Smith has survived as a sub-par GM for 10 years.

    Time to promote Rick Smith out of personnel decisions – make him President/VP of something, anything. Bring in Caserio as GM (word last year was OB wanted Caserio last January), extend Bill O’Brien, and demand O’Brien bring in an Offensive Coordinator (don’t know who, just someone who can run OB’s playbook he was using with Watson).
    ————————————————-
    I agree wholeheartedly on Smith needing to go, but just an FYI the whole “Smith is the godfather of Cal McNair’s kids” is an urban legend and not true at all, but it’s been passed around the city for years as the reason why he hasn’t been fired by now.

  30. endtimesparty says:
    December 29, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    If Watson doesn’t go down, this team wins the division. But how coaches adjust to injuries is also a big part of it. Look at Belichick winning the SB in 2003 despite starting a record 42 different players throughout the year. Then again, BB selects his backups. He got rid of Bledsoe and Bishop to make room for Brady. OBrien has Tom Savage and TJ Yates. Yikes.
    —————————————————
    O’Brien started the year with one of the worst offensive lines and worst secondary’s in the league. When Watson played he was able to hide a lot of the OL’s deficiencies but the defense was still putrid even though they were averaging almost 40 pts per game. When Watson went out and they lost the other players their true talent level came to the surface. Looking back on it now it’s doubtful they would have won the division even with Watson, but they would have at least been a .500 team or better.

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