In Part 1 of Mad Radio’s candid “Mad Conversation” visit with Texans head coach Bill O’Brien Mike and Seth discuss the evaluation of the 2016 season, O’Brien’s relationship with Rick Smith and how the evaluation of Deshaun Watson is different than the one of Brock Osweiler. Plus, O’Brien gives a play-by-play, in-depth description of what happened leading up to the selection of Watson in the 2017 Draft. Part two will air Tuesday, June 20, 2017.
On if close wins go into the process of evaluating the 2017 season and analytics as a whole as a resource: “Yeah, we look at it. There’s no doubt we look at stats and analytics and all those things, but what I’ve learned over the years is it’s gotta be what you see on the field and what you see on tape. A guy that was a quarterback in practice or in a game he might have been 15-20, but there were two tipped balls, the was one luck read where he was lucky to get it in there and it might show up good on this analytic board, but we know the truth. So you gotta be careful about it, but I’m a big believer in information because information helps give you a perspective on how you wanna coach.”
On why the team is going to West Virginia for training camp: “I know the fans love coming out to training camp and I want to tell then that we’re gonna have two or three practices in front of them, the fans, our players get jacked up practicing in front of the fans. But, one of the things the last three years is when we have gone away to Washington or gone away to Denver I really think it has helped the chemistry of our football team and those have been short spurts of two or three days at a time and look, at the end of the day it’s hot here and we play indoors. One of the I’ve looked at early in the season and a couple years ago when we opened up against Kansas City and we had to coach better than we did in that ballgame, but the energy wasn’t as good as it usually is with our team. We’ve done research on this and I think that playing in one hundred degrees every day the way we practice, what we demand of our players is tough and I think that it saps your energy so I think going to this place will help us number one chemistry wise, come together as a team, bond as a team, which I’m a big believer in and it will help us practice in normal, kinda 75-80 weather for that time of the year, which will help us when we start the season.”
On the organizational structure of the franchise when drafting players: “You know Rick and I the way that the organization is structured here we’re partners running this football team and so my part of that partnership is to evaluate the prospects and give my opinion and when Rick asks my opinion on certain players I give him my opinion. I’m not in charge of trading up and trading, that’s not part of my deal. When I come into the building on draft night I want to be sharp in giving him a snapshot opinion when he asks me what I think of this player. He’s not gonna draft guys we don’t want, but you have to have a clear opinion, you can’t go off on a short story about a guy because there are decisions that need to be made.
On the process and discussions leading up to the selection of Deshaun Watson: “This year when we came here there were a number of quarterbacks we liked, but I can tell you there was a consensus that Deshaun Watson was the number one quarterback that we liked and for a lot of reasons. We loved his demeanor, we loved that he played in a lot of big games in college and won, he’s a winner, I mean the guy’s a winner. So when he (Rick Smith) turned to me and said give me your final evaluation of the guy I said the guy’s a winner, the arm strength, the accuracy, he’s accurate, he can fire the football, he’s got escapability so whatever your decision is that’s it and so Rick made the move and this kid has come in here and done what we’ve asked him to do.
On handling disagreements with Rick Smith: “We talk all the time and we have no problem, we are at ease talking to each other. This is a very competitive business, as you know. When you’re in the season, or you’re in the offseason or you’re getting ready for the draft this is intense. It’s intense and everyone’s got opinions and in the end, when it relates to the team we’re the two decision-makers. If we agree on every decision then what’s the deal there? It’s not a bed of roses, that’s just the way it is, it’s the NFL. Now, we agree on a lot of things, there are a lot of things we agree on, but just like any organization, any successful place, you’re going to have some disagreements in the end. One of the things that it states in our contract is we go to Bob (McNair) if we have a disagreement, we have never had to do that, we just work it out. Maybe there’s something that Rick saw that I didn’t see or vice versa, but we’ve been able to work it out and make a decision. We get along, we talk, we text, we talk on the phone, we were together yesterday. Do we talk every day? Probably not because once I’m coaching the team it’s hard to maybe have that meeting every single day, but I’d say it’s rare that a day goes by where we don’t talk.”
O’Brien also weighed in on how the evaluation of Watson was different than the evaluation of Brock Osweiler, a moment when he joked with his wife about being fired, Deshaun Watson, playing early and more. Check out the podcast below and part two of the visit Tuesday at 8 am on Mad Radio on Sportsradio 610.