O’Brien: Texans Practice Surprise Tech Issues Often

By Matt Hammond, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — Should any surprise tech issues arise in Foxboro this week, the Houston Texans will be ready.

Heading into this week’s game against the New England Patriots, head coach Bill O’Brien was asked a general question about how he tries to prepare for any failures with headsets, Microsoft Surface tablets and other pieces of equipment when they hit the road.

O’Brien said they work on it often.

“We do that all the time,” O’Brien said. “I learned this early on in my pro career when I was an assistant coach. I remember we were in Seattle. It was pouring rain — I was with New England — and the headsets went out. We had to go to a board, because we had to use the wrist band with the quarterback, but then the rain was washing the ink off the board. So we had to cover the board, and then we had to cover (Matt Cassel’s) wristband. And that was something that Josh McDaniels was right on top of.

“I learned a lot from that. For us, every week, we try to simulate what’s gonna happen.”

The history of teams having tech issues in New England is lengthy.

Mike Tomlin was notably upset after a game there in 2015, when the Pittsburgh Steelers all of a sudden had the Patriots radio broadcast spill into their headsets. Shortly thereafter, Pro Football Talk documented five other teams that have suspected foul play in Foxboro since head coach Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

O’Brien wasn’t asked about the Patriots, or any of the complaints teams have had after going on the road to play them.

But he alluded to several problem he’s faced in his time in the NFL.

“In a TV game, with all the wires and things like that — it’s totally different than being out there with no one in the stadium,” O’Brien said. “All the technology, they still haven’t figured that out. How to get the headsets to work correctly. They go out all the time. That happens for every team. I think you have to have a plan for that. What is your plan, on both sides of the ball?

“Defense, it’s a little easier, because you can just signal it in. But offensively, sometimes there’s a little bit more to the play call, so it has to go to a wrist band, and you have to get that wrist band number to the quarterback.”

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