Bill O’Brien saw it coming even when others might not have.
Only four games into the season, O’Brien got a call from Texans chairman Cal McNair who delivered the bad news. The Texans made a change Monday, firing O’Brien as coach and General Manager.
“I respected the decision,” O’Brien said in a video conference call. “Look, I know in this business when we lost to Minnesota, a game that we had a chance to win. Give Minnesota credit. They did a great job. But I knew that something like this could happen. That’s the business.”
If the Texans hadn’t traded DeAndre Hopkins, maybe they’re not 0-4 and O’Brien still has his job. If the Texans hadn’t lost to the Vikings, who have former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator and former Texans head coach Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant, O’Brien likely still would have his job today.
But Hopkins now is in Arizona, and the Texans are 0-4. Only one team ever has rebounded from an 0-4 start to make the playoffs and that’s the 1992 Chargers, though yes, the playoff field is expanded this year.
“Every decision we made was always in the best interest of the team,” O’Brien said when asked if he had any regrets about any personnel decisions. “We had long conversations. We put a lot of research into them. There were things that happened within the walls of the organization that outside public really will never know. That’s just the way it is, and I totally understand that. We had a lot of great conversations that went into these decisions, a lot of research. We had a lot of people who helped us along the way. We made what we believed were the best decisions for the team. That’s what we always did.”
O’Brien finished his six-plus years with a 52-48 record. The Texans made the postseason four times, going 2-4. They never advanced past the divisional round.
O’Brien repeatedly said during the 10-minute call, “We just didn’t do enough.”
“I’m sorry that we couldn’t get this team over the hump,” O’Brien said. “We didn’t get it over the hump last year, the year before, and obviously early on this year. But it wasn’t for a lack of effort. We did win four division championships in six years. So we did a lot of good things here, but we didn’t do enough. We didn’t bring a Super Bowl to Houston. I believe eventually someone will. I believe this is a championship game that needs to get things turned around right now, but I believe in this team.”