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Texans make bold move with O'Brien hire

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If you are just waking up with your New Year's Eve hangover, you probably missed the news that Bill O'Brien is the new head coach of the Houston Texans.

It's a bold move by the Texans, going after perhaps the most sought-after candidate.

With any coach, you really have no idea what you are getting until he puts a team on the field. And even then, you might not learn for a few years. But in this case, the Texans got a high upside guy who could be the longterm solution to the team's perpetual mediocrity.

O'Brien's NFL experience came under Bill Belichick in New England, including a stint as offensive coordinator. While the Belichick coaching tree has been littered with head coaching failures -- Eric Mangini, Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels -- O'Brien might be different. He kept Penn State afloat despite tough circumstances, developed young quarterbacks and was known for demanding accountability. And at some point, one of Belichick's men will succeed.

If O'Brien gets the right quarterback in place and develops him, plus makes shrewd hires for his staff, especially defensive coordinator, the Texans could make a quick turnaround.

His Penn State tenure came in the wake of near death penalty sanctions against the program. He managed two winning records, and if this story is to be believed, he dealt with a lot more than it appeared on the surface.

In the end, O'Brien is an NFL guy, however, and a return to the league was all but guaranteed. The Texans were swift and bold in pursuing him, and it worked out.

It's an easy hire to like. He hasn't failed elsewhere, understands the NFL and knows how to deal with adversity. Unlike his predecessor -- who had a reputation as a quarterback developer -- O'Brien appears to be just that.

Who knows if it will work? But it was the right move. A bold move.

And a pretty good hangover cure for Texans fans.



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