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Texans’ 2014 Analysis: O’Brien not pleased with 9-7 record

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HOUSTON — Bill O’Brien is a hard man to please.

O’Brien just completed his first season as an NFL head coach. By all accounts, leading the Houston Texans to a 9-7 record one season after the team finished a league-worst 2-14 would qualify as meeting expectations.

But not to O’Brien.

“I don’t think we came close,” he said when asked if the season met his expectations. “Our expectations are to win. That’s the only expectation you can have in this league. In order to win, you’ve got to get into the playoffs.”

And the Texans missed getting the last wild-card berth when the Baltimore Ravens rallied to defeat the Cleveland Browns in the season finale.

“Look, 9-7 is progress, but it’s not good enough,” O’Brien said. “It’s not the mission. We all know what the mission is. The mission is to win.”

And he means the Super Bowl.

After O’Brien’s first season, the Texans are closer to the Super Bowl than they were a year ago. Obviously. But they are not as close as they were in 2012 when they finished 12-4, won the AFC South title and defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in a playoff game.

Entering his second offseason as the Texans’ coach, O’Brien is more confident and comfortable with a year under his belt.

“There’s no more dipping your toe into the water and trying to figure each other out,” O’Brien said about his players. “What you see is what you get with me. The players know what to expect with the coaching staff. They know our program.

“We’ll make adjustments. There are some things we need to improve: how we schedule things and how we do certain things in the offseason program, training camp and regular season.

“There’s a foundation we can definitely build on.”

O’Brien said offseason improvement starts with the head coach and his assistants and trickles down to the players.

“We’ve got to learn how to win close games,” he said. “We have to be situationally smarter. We have to know our systems better. We have to coach better. Our players need to individually improve their own skill sets, things they can work on to improve to get better.

“I really have a lot of respect for the guys in that locker room. They really put a lot of work into it. They bought into it. They really took our lead and said, ‘OK, these are the things we need to do to have a competitive team.’ And I give those guys a lot of credit. I have a lot of respect for the way this team played and how hard they played on every snap.”


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