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Bill O'Brien faced the media for the first time since the organization fired general manager Brian Gaine. While O'Brien appreciated the questions, he leaned primarily on the statement by Cal McNair about the team.
The statement covered that
This is the statement Bill O'Brien referenced when he was asked a multitude of questions. He declined to explain what his conversation with McNair covered but that McNair made his vision and expectations for the organization clear.
He also declined to discuss the reported interviews the Texans have already had and his role in the future interviews of this team.
The list of questions O'Brien used the statement as an answer
Here is a list of the questions O'Brien was asked that he used the statement from Cal McNair as his answer.
There was a report your relationship with Brian Gaine eroded is that true?
Did you believe Brian Gaine needed to be fired to move this organization forward?
What changed in your relationship with Brian Gaine when you were working with him?
Were you worried about losing your job based on this evaluation?
The Texans won 11 games, won the division, and hosted a playoff game. Why do you think there is this much change after that?
Has he talked with Nick Caserio?
Bill O'Brien was asked if he had contact with Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
"I would say that the answer to that is no. Relative to contact about anything having to do with the Houston Texans, no."
O'Brien on Gaine
O'Brien's comments directly on Brian Gaine were short and sweet and to the point.
"Man of high character. Great family man and good football person."
Impact on Clowney
When asked if the firing of Gaine and the eventual hire of a new general manager would affect Jadeveon Clowney O'Brien said "no" and pointed to Clowney's franchise tag designation and confirmed Clowney was not present for the mandatory workout on Tuesday.
Entering week eight in the NFL, the Houston Texans are in second place in the AFC South. At 3-3, I wonder how many people actually saw them entering week eight with a legit shot at winning the AFC South? Be honest. There were very few people who thought it was possible. The most hardcore fans would say they had a shot, but I wonder how many of them truly believed? Now that we've got about a third of the season as a sample size, it's time to rethink things.
Watching the development of C.J. Stroud is the primary factor in this reconsideration. He's grown into the franchise guy. I'm talking about the leader this team needs. Dare I say, the face of the franchise? Any time a team leans heavily on the pass game, it's typically from a vet. For a rookie to do what he's doing is beyond impressive. If the run game ever gets going, this offense will be really scary.
The defense has some work to do, but you can see the vision. Will Anderson Jr and Jonathan Greenard are a nice tandem off the edge. The safety play of Jalen Pitre has been a revelation since he stepped on the field. Christian Harris has the athleticism, but needs more reps. All these guys are still on rookie contracts. All of them seem to fit DeMeco Ryans' system very well. Getting Derek Stingley Jr back and healthy will be huge. His play will be another major key.
Looking at the division, the Jags (5-2) were picked by many to win the AFC South. In yards per game, they have the 4th ranked run defense, but the 31st ranked pass defense. The Texans are pass heavy right now, so this feeds into their plans. This series historically belongs to the Texans. They lead the 43 game series 29-14 and are 10-1 in their last 11 vs. the Jags. To say the Texans own them wouldn't necessarily be untrue. They share them with Shad Khan actually.
The team just behind the Texans in the standings are the Colts. Their hot shot rookie quarterback, Anthony Richardson, is out for the season after shoulder surgery. While they have the best defense in the division, their offense just lost a dynamic playmaker at the most important position. Sorry, but Gardner Minshew and Sam Ehlinger do not strike fear in anyone. If either of those guys were that good, one of them would've been starting over the rookie. That, or they'd be starting somewhere else. And that vaunted defense isn't as scary this year either, giving up over 350 yards per game.
Then there are the Titans. At 2-4, they're resting at the bottom of the barrel in this division. Derrick Henry was the subject of trade rumors in the offseason. He's responded with a 4.3 per carry average, only a tick below his career 4.7 average. They brought back Ryan Tannehill after drafting Malik Willis last year and Will Levis this last draft. Willis is the backup and Levis is the emergency guy. Neither could beat out Tannehill, and he was expected to be cut in favor of one of those guys. That tells you all you need to know about the Titans. They're terrible and the Texans should beat them up.
While the Texans are still putting their team together and have a few pieces left to fill, they clearly have enough to be able to win this division. The Jags are good, but aren't scary. The Colts don't have enough firepower and their defense isn't as good. The Titans are awful. They can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. If the Texans can hold it together, they can win this division. The Jags are their main competition and they own them. Once this team figures out a few things and add a few pieces, it could be their division for a long time to come. They'll have to keep pace with the changes their division makes, of course, but I like where this is going. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you can run. The crawling starts with having a winning season and winning the division for the first time since 2019.