The Houston Texans did the inevitable following week 4, firing Head Coach Bill O’Brien. While rumors about the lead up to the firing have dominated the headlines, the Texans are surely focused on making the right moves going forward. Romeo Crennel will lead the Texans the rest of this season, and it’s reasonable to think they could rebound and finish this season with a decent record.
Still, the focus must remain on bringing in the right guy following the season. With a franchise Quarterback under center in Deshaun Watson, pairing him up with an offensive head coach could set Houston up for years of success.
Due to the franchise altering decision that awaits the Texans, speculation will be high all throughout the season. That being said, it’s important to keep a few things in mind as rumors swirl about potential candidates.
First, they have to hire an offensive-minded coach to work alongside Deshaun Watson. Second, that coach ideally will have experience and evidence of working with young quarterbacks and helping them reach the next level. Finally, no locker room drama allowed. Bill O’Brien seemed to cause more of a stir than a head coach should, and we now know how that played out.
Right now, there are three candidates who stand out above the rest in my eyes. I’ll explain.
3. Greg Roman – Current Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator
Greg Roman has held the Offensive Coordinator position for three different teams since 2011. Those teams are the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14), the Buffalo Bills (2015-16), and most recently, the Baltimore Ravens (2019-20).
During that time, Roman has put together quite the resume as an offensive coordinator. At each stop he has impressed, with no exceptions.
Year one in San Francisco, Roman helped Alex Smith get his career back on a positive trajectory. Smith went from a 14-10 TD-INT ratio the year before Roman arrived to a 17-5 ratio in his first year as the teams OC. His improved play helped the 49ers turn into a 13-win team. The following year, the transition to Colin Kaepernick was the story, but again, the offensive production was quite impressive.
Roman’s time in Buffalo saw Tyrod Taylor put up the best statistical seasons of his career by far. After the two seasons Taylor spent in Roman’s offense, he’d never get back to anywhere near the level of production he displayed under Roman.
Finally, the most impressive part of Greg Roman’s resume, his work as the OC of the Baltimore Ravens. He took over entering the 2019 season, which happened to be the year the Ravens would fully move on from Joe Flacco and give the reigns to Lamar Jackson. No one saw the offensive production that came immediately coming at all.
Lamar Jackson would be the unanimous MVP in his first year leading an NFL franchise, a year in which most expected him to struggle. He didn’t, instead becoming a match-up nightmare for opponents. Greg Roman showed how creative and innovative he is, designing the offense to maximize Jackson’s strengths like no one thought was possible.
Clearly, the Texans won’t be altering from a more typical offense as much as the Ravens have, but that’s beside the point. Roman has demonstrated time and time again that he excels regardless of circumstances. It’s one thing to have a coach with a great system, it’s a whole new weapon to have a coach that molds his system to his player’s strengths.
2. Brian Daboll – Current Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator
Brian Daboll is likely the most unknown name to casual fans among my favorite candidates for the job. Don’t let unfamiliarity confuse you, though, as he’s an established offensive coach with a resume that will certainly peak the Texans interest.
He has been around great coaches, players, and organizations for the majority of his career, gaining the kind of experience that’s always preferred when you’re asking someone to come in and lead. He has worked as a wide receivers coach, tight ends coach, quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator at the NFL level. He has won five super bowls, all coming during stints he spent on the Patriots coaching staff.
Most recently, he has been an offensive coordinator. First in 2017 at the collegiate level, as OC for Alabama. He only stayed there for one season, in which Bama went 13-1 and won the National Championship. Their offense averaged 37.1 points per game behind extremely productive play from quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, who are both rookies in the NFL this season.
After quickly adjusting to the college game, Daboll quickly adjusted back to the NFL when he became the Bills offensive coordinator in 2018. That was Josh Allen’s rookie season, which saw the team, specifically the offense, struggle as Allen was raw entering the NFL.
Following a 6-10 debut season in Buffalo, that saw bad play from a first-round QB, the Bills bounced back big time in 2019. Allen went from a 10-12 TD-INT ratio to a 20-9 ration, leading the Bills to a 10-6 record. Josh Allen, Frank Gore, and Devin Singletary all rushed for over 500 yards that season, combining for 13 rushing touchdowns. Another example of a coach who actively builds the system around the players, putting them in positions to succeed.
This season, the offense is playing pretty well under Daboll yet again. Josh Allen is suddenly right behind Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers in MVP debates, which has something to do with the guy responsible for the offense.
Brian Daboll has shown an ability to adjust relatively quickly and out his players in the best positions to succeed on the field. He did it with Tua, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Allen, to name a few. The Texans would be wise to hear what he has to say in an interview for their head coaching job.
1. Eric Bienemy – Current Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
Eric Bienemy remains a lock to eventually get a head coaching opportunity, and it’s more than likely he will be selective in picking his opportunity. Even with the missing draft picks in Houston, odd roster construction, and a bad taste left by O’Brien, one would assume Bienemy would at least be intrigued by the opportunity to work with a QB of Watson’s caliber. If he shows the Texans that the interest is mutual, it could be a short interview process before Houston locks up the bright offensive mind of Bienemy.
This season marks his third year as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, following five years working as the teams running backs coach. That gives him eight seasons working closely with the offensive mind of Andy Reid. His promotion to OC came after the Chicago Bears hired Matt Nagy to be their head coach, opening up the offensive coordinator role under Reid.
Bienemy instantly established himself as an offensive coach, playing a major role in the Chiefs transition from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes.
Important reminder – In Mahomes first year as the full time starter (also Bienemy’s first year as the OC), he threw for 50 TD’s and 12 interceptions, taking home the NFL’s MVP award.
The following season, the Chiefs overcame injuries to their star QB and went on to win the Superbowl. That’s quite the resume in just two seasons. That’s not saying his resume only consists of those two seasons, as his career has led him to become very highly regarded among those around the league.
We’ve witnessed what Reid’s offense and staff could do for Mahomes, how could the Texans not pair that system up with Watson?
Deshaun Watson seemingly sees the potential, as Jason La Canfora reported that Watson has already advocated for the team to eventually hire the Chiefs offensive coordinator.
Not only is Bieniemy the best man for the job, everyone seems to be on the same page about it.