Yahoo Sports' Terez Paylor breaks down why the Texans came to the conclusion to fire head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien and the potential candidates to replace him in Houston.
TEREZ PAYLOR: OK, so the Houston Texans have decided to fire head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien. And O'Brien is the first NFL head coach to get the axe. And yeah, it's a little bit of a surprise.
The timing of it is curious. This is a COVID season, and things are already up in the air. So now you're adding a whole new layer of uncertainty to a team that's already 0 and 4 and on the ropes.
But performance-wise, yeah, you can make a case for this. He blew a 24-0 divisional round lead in January. And he traded DeAndre Hopkins before the season, a trade that was honestly just a complete disaster. And again, now he's 0 and 4, coming off a home loss to the previously winless Vikings, despite the fact that he took over the offensive play calling.
Yeah, the Texans decided they had to make a move. And it certainly makes sense if, as you suspect, when you make a move at a time like this, he might have lost the confidence of some people in the building. So Romeo Crennel takes over as the interim camp coach. And I'd say it's highly unlikely he keeps the job, so let's just focus on the potential replacements.
First of all, one thing you certainly know, this is regarded as a good job. League sources I talked to say, hey, this is a job candidates are going to be very interested in. Why? Because of Deshaun Watson. Watson's regarded as a Super Bowl caliber quarterback, someone you can win with and-- win quickly with, actually.
And despite the fact you won't have a first or second round pick in 2021, the potential to turn this thing around quickly is there. But without those picks, I think is going to be very important for the new head coach and new GM, whoever that ends up being, to really be on the same page so they can hit the ground running without the premium picks early. And I think, if you're gonna do that, you also have to take a you also have to take a look at, OK, who are they going to be hiring, and who's gonna have a role in this decision?
I think Jack Easterby, who's currently the highest-ranking football executive, will certainly have a role. He reportedly has a long-term contract and will be in the ear of Cal McNair, the owner. And if that's the case, then you gotta say, OK, let's take a look at New England. That's where Easterby is from.
You know, obviously, Josh McDaniels, a longtime offensive coordinator there-- he checks a couple of boxes there. He's an offensive mind to pair with Watson. And even GM-wise, they've tried to hire Nick Caserio, who's the de facto GM in New England, and actually could leave if he wanted to, at least on paper. But the problem is they've tried to hire him twice already, and the second time they got busted for tampering.
So it's hard to see-- hard to figure whether or not that's actually gonna-- that would actually work out if he wanted to leave. You know, it depends on how the league sees it and how New England sees it, and how those guys individually see it. But just beyond the typical suspects in New England, there are some really good offensive coordinators in this league that really deserve a look and are certainly guys that might end up being head coaches sooner rather than later.
Number one on that list is in Kansas City, Eric Bieniemy. He's been the Chiefs' offensive coordinator now several years. He's also helped lead this team to a Super Bowl win, coached up Patrick Mahomes, inspires confidence and faith in his players and gets them to play hard. So he's somebody that can immediately come in, be a disciplinarian.
Brian Daboll, the offensive coordinator in Buffalo, has done a great job for the Bills. They're 4 and 0. And he's done an unbelievable job coaching up Josh Allen to build a offense that suits his skill set.
Another one I really like is Greg Roman from Baltimore, who's done a great job doing the same with Lamar Jackson. That offense really fits him. And one more to keep an eye on is Arthur Smith in Tennessee.
Coaches and organizations really want guys who can-- who are from the Mike Shanahan tree, and we've seen a lot of these guys have success from Matt LaFleur to Kyle Shanahan to Sean McVay. Arthur Smith is from this tree. His offense is creative, and it is plug and play and will be a great fit for Watson. So he's someone else to keep an eye on.
Obviously, a lot to figure out in Houston, as far as what they're gonna do, but they're gonna start getting down that track shortly. And it should be fun to see what happens.