The calls for a new offensive coordinator are prevalent. Bill O’Brien seems to be over his head in the role of both head coach and coordinator. This has led some to believe that Texans fans will see a new offensive coordinator come 2019. Though there are some great options outside the Texans organization, the organization tends to promote from within. This leads me to believe that one of the two candidates on the current coaching staff could be the offensive coordinator come 2019.
The two might be surprises, but they are qualified in their own right.
The First Candidate: Wes Welker, Offensive Assistant/Wide Receiver CoachEmbed from Getty Images
Yup, that Wes Welker.
In case you didn’t know, Welker has been with the Texans as an offensive assistant and wide receivers coach for the past two seasons. And they don’t seem to want to lose him as Houston denied Denver an opportunity to interview the former pro-bowler.
Much like Mike Vrabel, Welker joined the Texans operation of ‘Patriots South’ in Houston. This could be because Welker was coached by Bill O’Brien for much of his Patriots tenure. Though Wes Welker could have been a wide receivers coach for several other teams, it’s clear he chose the Texans due to familiarity.
But some might say promoting Welker might sound premature due to a lack of play-calling experience and coaching in general. However, in 2018 he was given more responsibilities in managing the offense.
O’Brien also trusted Welker as the offensive assistant in 2018, on top of being the wide receiver’s coach. This role included spotting defensive and offensive tendencies, checking plays that need to be reviewed, making sure plays are being executed effectively, and generally being involved in the upcoming game plans.
And he’s also done an excellent job developing young wide receivers. He can be credited to turning Will Fuller V into a well-rounded receiver. Welker also played a key role in drafting KeKe Coutee and trading for Demaryius Thomas.
Welker is a revolutionary man when it comes to the NFL, he brought the slot receiver position to the forefront and is a direct descendant from the Bill Belichick tree. But is that enough to make him offensive coordinator? I would say no, not yet at least. While I believe that Welker has potential, we haven’t seen him call plays at any level. Simply put, Welker being promoted in 2019 might be too soon.
The Second Candidate: Sean Ryan, Quarterback CoachEmbed from Getty Images
Much like Wes Welker, Sean Ryan has never been a play caller at any level. But, he does have more coaching familiarity with the Texans and NFL. Ryan has been an offensive coach in the NFL since 2007, getting his start with the Tom Coughlin-led Giants. He then became the Texans wide receivers coach in 2016, and later earned the promotion to the quarterback’s coach in 2017.
Though Ryan is not from Bill O’Brien’s tree of Patriot coaching, he’s turned into a highly coveted coaching prospect. Like Welker, the Texans denied interview requests for Sean Ryan to become an offensive coordinator last year.
Ryan is also very familiar with Bill O’Brien’s playbook and has worked with Deshaun Watsons closely in the past two years.
If you’re a team looking for the next Sean McVay, you might want to keep a close eye on Sean Ryan. Everyone I talk to keeps bringing up the name of the Texans QB coach.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 3, 2018
With the recent poaching attempts of Sean Ryan, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Texans move him up to coordinator. Presumably for the sake of keeping a young offensive mind on the payroll, which is coveted in the modern NFL.
The combination of experience, work with great coaches (Tom Coughlin), familiarity with the playbook, and crafting of Deshaun Watson is what will take Ryan to the next level over Welker.
Though I don’t believe Ryan or Welker would be the play-caller immediately if they were hired as offensive coordinator, they have the potential to do so. Both are gifted offensive minds, which is evident if you look at their accomplishments in the NFL, it’s a matter of time before either, or both become an offensive coordinator.
-Avery Duncan @texansfocus