Smith enjoying evaluating with O’Brien

Smith enjoying evaluating with O’Brien
May 1, 2014, 5:00 pm
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Texans GM Rick Smith and new head coach Bill O’Brien have been working together for the past few months in preparation for the upcoming draft.

And, according to Smith, the two of them are working well with one another.

“I think the biggest thing is just the whole opportunity to be exposed to a new system, the learning that’s involved in it,” Smith said during Thursday’s pre-draft press conference when asked how the process has been different with O’Brien than it was with former head coach Gary Kubiak.

“That’s one of the things that I expressed I was looking forward to. I’ve been in a certain system for 18 years. The opportunity to step outside of that comfort zone gives me a chance to grow personally and professionally. That was a part of it. Bill’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s got a good vision. One of the things that we are really doing this year is painting a vision for each player and how that player will come in and specifically impact our team and that will be fun.”

The two men are the main leaders as the Texans try to rebound from a disastrous 2-14 season in 2013, which saw Kubiak get fired. The Texans hold the first-overall pick in the draft but have 11 total picks, including one at the top of each round. Smith said that while the first pick gets a lot of attention – and rightfully so – those other picks are extremely important.

And so far, according to Smith, the two are playing nice together and have been in agreement on most prospects.  

“It’s been pretty consistent that we’ve been in agreement,” he said. “He’s been in football a long time. I’ve been in football a long time. I think we know what good football players look like. It’s no surprise to me that we saw things pretty much the same.”

Smith has been with the Texans since 2006 and has only prepared for a draft as a general manager with Kubiak as head coach. And before he joined the Texans, Smith was with the Broncos in various roles (coach, front office) since 1996. With Kubiak’s connection with the Broncos, this is an entirely new system for which Smith is finding players. But he said he’s enjoying that learning process.

“It’s been fun,” Smith said when asked specifically about O’Brien’s take on quarterbacks. “He’s very smart, very intelligent, very communicative. It’s been a good process. It’s been a learning process for me. We’ve had some good ideas, good conversations and good discussions in regard to things that are necessary for a guy to be successful in the league.”

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