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The Texans could be reshaped in the coming years by new head coach Bill O'Brien, and that process began last week with the team letting go of well-thought-of pro scouting director Brian Gardner, as well as pro scout Kevin Murphy. Team sources said there is definitely an atmosphere of concern for more change with the new coaching regime.
Texans owner Bob McNair named O'Brien coach following 14 consecutive losses to the end a season that began with Super Bowl expectations, paying more than $6 million to Penn State just to get the coach out of his contract there. O'Brien comes from the Bill Belichick family tree at the pro level, which is a model set up for the head coach to have extreme authority and many believe that O'Brien will eventually bring in a personnel man closely aligned with him.
McNair used an outside firm to lead his coaching search, not GM Rick Smith, who is very well regarded and who has had a very strong relationship with ownership. Many other GMs believe Smith would have pushed Ken Whisenhunt for the coaching opening (McNair ended up not waiting to interview the Chargers offensive coordinator, who was still in the playoffs), and if O'Brien does curry more favor there, then the shakeup this past week may be a precursor to more change down the road.
O'Brien, a quarterback guru, will obviously have significant say on the first overall draft pick and how to use it, given that a need at quarterback is the primary concern for the entire organization at this point. Some have speculated that former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, who worked with O'Brien in New England (the two also share an agent), could eventually join that franchise in some capacity as well.