Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t seem like a man who is planning on changing jobs any time soon.
On Saturday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, citing several sources, that “many” of the six teams currently looking for a head coach were waiting to see “if coach trade (with the Texans) is possible.” Rapoport also mentioned a “mutual parting of the ways” or “the Texans simply deciding three years is enough” as potential scenarios. In that case, O’Brien would obviously rise toward the top of many teams’ wish lists.
“I have a five-year contract here,” O’Brien told reporters. “I have two years left on my contract. I’m looking forward to coaching here and I’m looking forward to getting ready for this next game. I think it’s a great win today for our team. I’m just really proud of our players. And I think our players, like I said earlier, they work very hard to get to this point. They dealt with the ups and downs. They’re where they are right now. At the end of this weekend there’ll only be eight teams left. And I think that’s a good accomplishment for this team right now but there’s more to be done. There’s more to play. And I know these guys will come in ready to work this week and I’m excited about that.”
While the report never stated that O’Brien was in danger of losing his job if the Texans lost, McNair did get the opportunity to throw his support behind a coach who deserves a lot of credit. O’Brien caught some flak for barely winning an underwhelming AFC South this year, though he continues to navigate his way into the postseason with a carousel of replacement-level quarterbacks (Houston has finished 9-7 each of O’Brien’s first three years and has won the division two years in a row). Already, he has gone through Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett, Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler.
Obviously, the road gets much tougher from here. In the least-likely scenario (Dolphins defeat Steelers in Pittsburgh) Houston would travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. If the Steelers win, O’Brien heads back to New England to face his mentor, Bill Belichick. The Patriots downed the Texans, 27-0, back in late September.
If nothing else, O’Brien goes into those matchups with the support of the Texans behind him.