Texans reach agreement with Bill O'Brien

Texans reach agreement with Bill O'Brien
December 31, 2013, 9:15 pm
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CSNNE's Curran on Texans' hiring Bill O'Brien

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Bill O'Brien will be the third head coach in Texans history.

CSNHouston has confirmed through sources that the Texans reached a deal with the former Penn State head coach on Tuesday night. O'Brien will take over a Texans team that finished with an extremely disappointing 2-14 record in 2013.

The deal will be announced by the team on Thursday.

O'Brien brings with him head coaching and NFL experience, the two components owner Bob McNair said he was looking for in a head coach.

Two years ago, O'Brien took over a Penn State a program that was supposed to be shambles after the Jerry Sandusky scandal and subsequent NCAA sanctions. But instead, O'Brien's team won eight games in his first season and seven this year.

O'Brien, 44, also has significant NFL experience. He served in various roles for the Patriots from 2007-2011, last holding the title of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. He coached Tom Brady in New England.

ESPN first broke the news of O'Brien's joining the Texans on Tuesday evening.

O’Brien takes over a franchise with some talent and the first-overall pick in the upcoming draft. It seems likely the Texans will use that first-overall pick to draft a quarterback. Quarterback play was a serious problem for the team in 2013, with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum struggling. Developing quarterbacks is also a skill O'Brien is known for.

The Texans fired head coach Gary Kubiak with three games left in the 2013 season to get a head start on their coaching search, a decision that appeared to pay off when the Texans reached a deal with their coach of choice on Tuesday evening. O'Brien was likely to garner interest from other NFL teams looking for coaches but the Texans pounced first. They're the first team with a coaching vacancy to fill the opening after the end of the regular season.

Kubiak finished his seven-plus year career with the Texans with a 61-64 record. The first coach of the Texans, Dom Capers, went 18-46 in four years with the Texans.

Aside from O'Brien, the Texans also interviewed former Bears head coach Lovie Smith and interim coach Wade Phillips. On Monday, Phillips said he wouldn't rule out a return to the Texans as defensive coordinator but made it clear he wanted to be a head coach.

That will be the first order of business for O'Brien. He'll need to construct a solid staff, including his offensive and defensive coordinators. O'Brien is an offensive coach, so his defensive coordinator will be important.

O'Brien and the Texans' brass will also need to decide if they'll keep any of the coaches from the Kubiak staff. Running backs coach Chick Harris is the only coach who has been with the franchise since its beginning.

Comcast SportsNet's Sara Eckert and James Palmer contributed to this report.