It was reported yesterday by ESPN that the Houston Texans are close to hiring Penn State Nittany Lions head coach and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien as Gary Kubiak’s replacement, but nothing is set in stone just yet. Although this should probably be taken with a grain of salt, O’Brien assured a highly-touted recruit that he is not leaving Happy Valley, and it just goes to show you that the rumor mill will continue to churn out stuff. What we do know is that O’Brien is high on a few teams’s wish lists as a future head coach, and we also know that the Texans are going to continue to interview candidates. They’ve already interviewed defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, and they are zeroing in on another interview.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that “perhaps the final candidate” the Houston Texans will interview is Ken Whisenhunt, who is currently the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator. He’s helped lead a resurgent Chargers offense, and it is possible that he and genius rookie head coach Mike McCoy should share plaudits for the line’s turn-around and Rivers’s turn-around. Per Rapoport, Texans GM Rick Smith is a “huge fan” of Whisenhunt, and that is a statement that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
O’Brien is the favorite to win the Texans head coaching gig, but Whisenhunt is an interesting darkhorse. Both coaches meet the Texans main need, and that is a head coach who can work well with quarterbacks and effectively play-call and manage an offense. Both Whisenhunt and O’Brien are either current or former offensive coordinators in the NFL, so they both make sense as candidates for the Texans.