Bill O’Brien era begins in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) — The Bill O’Brien era is underway in Houston.
The Texans hit the field Tuesday for their first organized workouts since O’Brien took over as coach.
Houston had preseason Super Bowl aspirations last year, but wound up with an NFL-worst 2-14 record. After putting his players through their first session, O’Brien said he was focused on getting them going in the right direction so they can understand his expectations for the team.
As for 2013, that is something he is keeping in the past.
“We don’t talk about it that much,” O’Brien said. “As far as addressing all the things . I wasn’t here last year so I would be very remiss in addressing anything last year. Every year’s different, that was last year and this is a new year.”
Houston’s 2013 was still a talking point. The play was abysmal and at the end of the year the players had taken on an attitude that football was no longer fun. The Texans hired O’Brien from Penn State to replace Gary Kubiak, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.
O’Brien is already instilling a new feel around the team.
“You can kind of feel the energy around here, it’s exciting,” veteran cornerback Jonathan Joseph said. “Bringing in a new staff always brings in excitement because you’re always eager to go out and show from a player’s standpoint that you’re worthy of being on the team and worthy of a roster spot.
“It’s kind of like going to preschool or going to high school again because all the guys are back joking. At the same time you’re also putting in an incredible amount of work on the field and in the classroom.”
Along with a new excitement came a sense of intensity. Players said practice had a different tempo and was louder that it has been in the past. The changes were welcome.
“It’s a very intense staff,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “They really focus on attention to detail and focusing on things that hurt us before. I think it’s going to make us better. It’s exciting to have a fresh start, a clean slate . I feel like a rookie all over again.”
O’Brien said the first day was simply about his team learning the system and getting used to a new environment. He and his staff are looking at plays from last year that are similar to this year’s scheme. Showing the players where things were similar and where they will be different is part of the process for O’Brien as he tries to turn things around.
“These are professional football players and we told them from Day 1 that every year’s different,” O’Brien said. “Part of being an NFL football player and NFL coach is being able to adapt to change, and I think these guys have adapted well to this point.”
NOTES: Wide receiver Andre Johnson did not attend Tuesday’s session and O’Brien did not give a reason for his absence. ... Running back Arian Foster returned from surgery that cut his 2013 season short. O’Brien said Foster had a good practice and was part of a group that was going through a learning process along with the coaching staff. ... Houston will practice Wednesday, a day before the draft when the team has the No. 1 overall pick.