The calls for a new offensive coordinator are real. Bill O’Brien seems to be over his head playing the role of both head coach and coordinator. On Twitter, fans have started the calls for a new offensive coordinator since the Texans devastating loss to the Colts.
The “O’Brien Way” for coaching hires has been to promote from within, with an emphasis on like-minded individuals (former Patriots). They did it before with Mike Vrabel, an O’Brien hire, and former Patriot. Bill O’Brien has also had an emphasis on staying consistent to help Deshaun Watson’s development, leading all signs to point to the same for the offensive coaching staff.
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. The organization doesn’t seem to want to lose him either as Houston blocked Denver from interviewing the former pro-bowler last off-season.
Much like Mike Vrabel, Welker joined the Texans operation of “Patriots South” in Houston. Bill O’Brien coached Welker for a large part of his Patriots tenure. Wes Welker most likely received calls to be a wide receivers coach for several other teams. It’s clear he chose the Texans due to familiarity.
But promoting Welker might be 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 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 and making sure plays were being executed effectively from the press box. While also being involved in the upcoming game plans.
He’s also done an excellent job developing young wide receivers. He can be credited to helping Will Fuller’s drop his catching problem, playing a pivotal role in drafting KeKe Coutee and trading for Demaryius Thomas.
Welker is a revolutionary man concerning the NFL landscape. He brought the slot receiver position to the forefront. While he is also a direct descendant to the Bill Belichick tree. But is his past enough to make offensive coordinator in 2018?
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 coaching in the NFL than the previous candidate. Ryan has been an offensive coach in the NFL since 2007 when he was the offensive quality control coach for the Tom Coughlin-led Giants. He came to Houston in 2016 to be the Texans wide receivers coach 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 the offensive coordinator to keep other teams away.
The combination of experience, Super Bowl experience, familiarity with the playbook, and current work with Deshaun Watson is what could take Ryan to the next level over Welker.