Texans Rumors: Bill O'Brien, Houston Offense Had 'Verbal Blowup' Before Firing

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2020

Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien watches during an NFL training camp football practice Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

A 31-23 loss to the Minnesota Vikings appears to have been the final straw, but the Houston Texans may have decided well before that to fire head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien. 

The Texans confirmed Monday that O'Brien was out:

According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, the coach "lost the team" two weeks ago as the situation deteriorated to the extent there was a "verbal blowup" during practice:

Many will argue O'Brien's ouster is long overdue. You can pick any number or reasons to justify his firing, most notably the DeAndre Hopkins trade and a general inability to adequately support franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Those problems predated the start of the 2020 season, so the only surprise was that the Texans would do this at a time when it's hard to undo the damage.

Russini's report sheds some light as to why ownership didn't persist with this doomed partnership any further. 

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora also reported some players voiced concerns with the Texans' pursuit of free-agent safety Earl Thomas: "His relationships with players were long suffering and Hopkins trade only intensified the tense atmosphere."

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ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sept. 28 the Texans were planning to sign Thomas. However, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported the team reversed course after determining he "wasn't a good fit."

Now, the Texans are left with Romeo Crennel as their interim coach, and they'll almost certainly have to wait until the offseason to find O'Brien's permanent replacement. Houston is effectively looking at a lost season, not the outcome the team was expecting given how much it invested—financially and in draft capital—in the current roster.