The Houston Texans fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien on Monday, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirms. Romeo Crennel will be the interim head coach moving forward. Following their 31-23 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4, the Texans fell to 0-4 — dead last in the AFC South.
O’Brien has been with the Texans since 2014, and has registered a record of 52-48. Houston reached the postseason four out of the last six seasons, but won just two postseason games. Jack Easterby is in charge of the organization with O’Brien out as GM, La Canfora reported.
Shortly after the news broke, Texans owner Cal McNair released a statement thanking O’Brien:
“On behalf of my family and our entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Bill O’Brien and his family for their impact on our franchise. Bill’s leadership moved our organization forward as he guided us to four AFC South division championships, 52 wins and multiple playoff appearances during his tenure. Bill proved himself as a coach and leader in this league. I spoke with him earlier today and told him we are moving in a different direction. Romeo Crennel will serve as our interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020 season. We have a talented team and I have no doubt our players and staff will rally to make Texans fans proud as we aim to win championships and do great things for the city of Houston.”
O’Brien had been clashing with prominent players at practice, and taking over play-calling duties was his last attempt to salvage things within the organization, according to La Canfora. That move was another misstep, as the Texans went 3-of-12 on third down conversions, turned the ball over once and were dominated in time of possession during their fourth consecutive loss on Sunday. Another move that reportedly rubbed players the wrong way was O’Brien’s push to bring in free agent safety Earl Thomas — a potential addition which was reportedly met with strong pushback by the Texans locker room.
O’Brien made more than his fair share of blunders over the past year, but one of his final mistakes that resonated inside the locker room was his decision to trade away wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. The Texans traded Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals for David Johnson and his huge contract, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick. Many considered it very surprising that the Texans failed to acquire a first-round pick for one of the best receivers in the game.
“I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we thought was in the best interest of our team,” O’Brien said on a conference call with reporters, per Sports Radio 610 in Houston. “DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player for us here. He made so many plays for us. We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. We weren’t going to be able to go in that direction.”
The Texans have the NFL‘s highest payroll this year at $248 million according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and are in dire need of a restart. While Houston had to face three of the best teams in the NFL to start the 2020 season in the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Texans’ winless record is certainly not the only thing that led to this big decision.