It goes without saying that the Houston Texans must improve their won-loss record in 2014. The 2013 team was the first in NFL history to start off 2-0 and then lose its next 14 games, ending up with the worst mark in the league.
Replacing Gary Kubiak with Bill O’Brien as the head coach is the first step towards that end. Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com judged the Texans’ coaching post as the most attractive job opening in the league and O’Brien as the likeliest candidate for it.
According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, the former Penn State head coach accepted the offer of owner Bob McNair on Dec. 31, just two days after the regular season finale. The hiring was formally announced on Jan. 4 at a Reliant Stadium press conference.
Other changes have included blowing out most of the coaching staff from the Kubiak era. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who had interviewed for the head coach opening, was the most notable casualty. It was announced on Jan. 7 that defensive line coach Bill Kollar would be retained and will be joined by six of O’Brien’s assistants from Penn State.
General manager Rick Smith was fortunate to survive the firing of Kubiak, the man who helped get him the job. Smith also has the first pick in the draft to play with this year. The Texans' need to select a quarterback seems so obvious that it is hard to imagine any other position getting serious consideration.
No matter who is selected at the top of the first round by Houston, the 2014 roster will be impacted by almost as much turnover as the amount of Texans turnovers on the field last season.
The arrival of a new coach, combined with some painful financial realities, will result in a squad that bears only a partial resemblance to the one that disappointed so many of its fans in 2013.